Do You Mine for Gold Like a Top CEO?

Empathy Growth mindset Respect


Key Point: One in four leaders get feedback in their 360 reviews that they could be better listeners. I have noticed over and over again that many people come to meetings and never take notes (electronically or hard copy). I often wonder and am amazed because they must have exceptional memories. How are they so skilled at absorbing the essence of a presentation/conversation? As an example, it used to drive me bananas when sales people showed up to sales development programs without having anything to take notes. How could they possibly capture the key learning’s without writing them down and reflecting upon them? What tools and techniques do you use to improve your listening skills? See below:

The following is from the above HBR “better listeners” blog:

“I saw how Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell, do the following: Sitting down with a business unit leader presenting him with information about a $300 million dollar technical investment opportunity, Bossidy divided a sheet of paper about three-quarters across. On the larger left side of the paper, he scribbled detailed notes; on the smaller right side, he occasionally jotted down two or three words, capturing what he perceived to be the key insights and issues being brought to his attention. It was a simple technique that disciplined him to listen intently for the important content and focus follow-up questions on points that really mattered. Whether or not this is your method, you should train yourself to sift for the nuggets in a conversation. Then let the other person know that they were understood by probing, clarifying, or further shaping those thoughts. The benefits of this go beyond ensuring that you heard it right: First, the person on the other end of the conversation will be gratified that you are truly grasping the essence of their thoughts and ideas; second, this gratification will motivate and energize them to create more thoughts and solutions. Listening opens the door to truly connecting and is the gateway to building relationships and capability.”

Character Move:

  1. Have a technique that sifts for listening nuggets! Write them down. Review the nuggets with the people who you are in discussion with. Connect with the other(s) by demonstrating understanding.
  2. Practice improving listening skills everyday. Develop listening techniques that work for you. This practice is a life and relationship enhancer.
  3. Really listening is like mining for gold. It takes continual sifting to find the nuggets. And like gold, solid listening increases the richness in relationships.

Sifting for gold in The Triangle,