I don’t recall when I first heard that phrase, but it contains such insight.
America’s best buy for a nickel is a telephone call to the right man – Ilka Chase
You cannot know everything. Don’t even try! Instead, take the time to cultivate personal and professional relationships with those who expand your horizons, have knowledge complementary (or orthogonal) to your own, and whom you can contact when you need advice, suggestions, or knowledge.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t strive to be the best, most well rounded expert at what you do! Rather, there are always going to be areas of knowledge at, or just beyond, the limit of your understanding. When that happens, don’t guess at it unless you have to – instead, if at all possible, talk to someone who knows that area better than you do.
The brush paints in both directions. If you are conscientious and diligent in your own area of expertise, then you, in turn, will the a person to whom others turn to, when they need some sage advice in your area.
Don’t use this as an excuse to vacillate: when you have to make a decision, then by all means, decide. When time frame or circumstances determine that you must make your best stab at a fix, go for it! But, when you have the time and opportunity to reflect on something just out of your technical grasp, think about who you can contact to give you the advantage you need. And, don’t hesitate to give similar assistance to others who call upon you.