I met with a woman the other day, named Cynthia Currence. She happens to be the President Elect of the Georgia Chapter of the Institute of Management Consultants, and a really, really great person.
During this rather brief meeting, where we talked about our perspective businesses and how we could work together, she made it really clear for me that sometimes we are so busy categorizing everything, and putting them into nice, neat little boxes that we don’t take the time to listen. The funny thing is that it was me that was doing the categorizing and not listening!!
Cynthia mentioned to me that she helps business owners listen, whether listening to their employees, their customers, their vendors or other businesses. What I heard, however, when I reflected back to her, my take was that she is a communications expert. I did not emphasize the listening part, which was what was important to her…I classified her into the group of people who help two groups of people simply talk to each other.
The funny thing about that is this is the fundamental problem: as a knowledge-based workforce, we are learning to express ourselves rather effectively. The other part of the equation we are missing is the active listening component – going beyond hearing and reflecting, but rather completely putting away our pre-conceived ideas and backgrounds to open ourselves up to whatever information is being shared with us.
This means that we don’t listen and think of something intelligent to say while the other person is speaking, but rather, seeking to understand that other person. This was one of those thoughts or statements that makes ones ego vie for attention while scrambling for something intelligent to say. Yet, this is what we do, day in and day out. We spend so much time thinking that we forget to listen.
Think about this…how many businesses do you know of that have a turnover rate of >100% per year? What about organizations that have very few repeat customers? What about Non Porfits that can’t get their board and their director on the same sheet of music? What about committees that cannot seem to “get it right” to move anything of any substance forward.
Now the question is: How can listening help your business?
For more information on how Cynthia might help your organization, please visit her at http://www.currenceassociates.com.
At Aepiphanni Business Solutions, we are a Small Business Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small business owners. We specialize in helping you develop strategies for your organization, and are committed to your success. If you have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].