It is often observed that the pace of daily life has picked up for everyone. What is becoming compromised as a result is human connection and our propensity to look for the ‘quick fix’. Having time to truly connect, listen, consider, respond and ‘be present’ with one another is becoming seen as a luxury by many. The outcome of this is a breakdown in relationships and the ability to understand issues from other points of view.
As Stephen M.R. Covey says, “To listen first means to really listen (to genuinely seek to understand another person’s thoughts, feelings, experience, and point of view), but to do it first (before you try to diagnose, influence, or prescribe).” He goes on to add, “The principles behind “Listen First” include understanding, respect and mutual benefit. The opposite is to speak first and listen last – or not to listen at all.”
So how do we slow down, listen more, consider other points of view and suspend judgement? Once we build awareness it becomes a life’s work to unlearn the many habits we have formed. Perhaps the most destructive of these is to rush into judgment. Why is it we feel the need to be heard before listening to others’ points of view? If we make assumptions, judge and act without truly listening it can result in embarrassment or worse, deep humiliation.
As a company focused on supporting organisations to develop their people to be the best they can be, we believe it comes down to one thing. Truly listening. They know their context more deeply than anyone. However they are often looking for a ‘quick fix’ from the outside. Our work teaches us regularly that there is no such thing. Organisations find over time that quick fixes do not produce long term, sustainable change. They just bounce from one ‘fix’ to the next. What has become abundantly clear is that learning to truly listen to one another and leverage off internal strengths is often overlooked.
As Norm Augustine, former Chairman of Lockheed Martin said, “We’ve all heard the criticism ‘he talks too much’. When was the last time you heard someone criticised for listening too much?”
Snuggle up somewhere warm and we hope you enjoy your June read
Mary and Lab Wilson (the Bats Team)