The art of listening and building solutions can be learned by anyone.
As busy business owners, executives and entrepreneurs, it can be hard to listen when we don’t want to hear what someone is saying. We blame it on our busy-ness, ever-present distractions and the other person’s irritating communication style.
However, it’s important to remember, our employees, customers and vendors provide the greatest value in helping us build solutions and profitably grow our businesses. It’s on us to listen and learn, while hearing and providing what the team needs to win.
It’s Profitable to Listen
Be open to other’s contributions. Your team, customers and vendors are valuable sources of information. Encourage them to rock the boat with their potential solutions. Then, work with your team to determine how these solutions can strategically build a positive outcome and ROI. One successful business owner stated, “My team and customers come up with 100’s of ideas, only a couple that can be actually implemented profitably.”
Talk straight. This sounds easy, but, it’s not. One business owner loves to rely on his emotional reactions when making decisions. As a result, his decisions constantly change, making it hard for others to get a straight answer. Using the 5 W’s (why, when, where, who and what) deep dive into asking questions without interrogating anyone.
Listen for what you don’t know. Yes, this can be hard on the ego. It’s also the reason many companies are struggling today. An executive believed he could intuitively tell the “right answer” without objective data. As a result, the company is struggling to grow and become profitable due to his “know-it-all” attitude. Avoid quickly rubber stamping any ideas, or automatically dismissing any suggestions based on your emotions and lack of real objective data.
Welcome brainstorming. The true art of brainstorming will not allow you to disregard off-the-wall comments as these can elicit the best ideas from others. One executive loved to play the game of pretending to listen to other’s ideas, but, would only implement his own. As a result, he was fired for ignoring key information.
Learn from everyone’s mistakes. No matter what we do to avoid them, mistakes and failures happen … to everyone. Instead of assessing blame and engaging in gossip to feel better, seek solutions. Objectively review what worked and didn’t work. This process will minimize the emotional roller-coast. It also provides clarity to address overlooked action steps that seemed unimportant, but were critical to success. Do NOT be distracted by the shiny object syndrome that naturally occurs when you need to resolve current challenges. One business owner loved her new ideas and used them as a distraction to avoid working through her business challenges. When she listened to her business coach, she saved time and money, and was able to strategically focus to build a profitable business.
When you start to really listen, you will hear valuable solutions and opportunities that you would never think of on your own. This is the least expensive and most profitable way to grow your business.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2018
Jeannette Seibly has been recognized as a catalyst and leadership expert for the past 25 years. As an executive coach, speaker and author, she provides straight talk with dynamic results. The art of listening for and building solutions can be learned by everyone. Take the time to find out why you don’t always listen to what others have to say. Don’t wait! Contact Jeannette now for a preliminary confidential conversation.