Archive for the ‘management’ Tag

Listening practices

I talk a lot about listening in these posts, because it’s a huge part of successful business and a huge part of successful lives as well.  But it is not a well known practice.  We’re traditionally taught to work myopically towards our goals, to plow through obstacles, to attain against all odds.  The problem with this tactic is that it cuts us off from reality and we can easily find ourselves up the creek and paddleless.

The old way is grounded in the philosophy that man is the master of his destiny.  The new way stems from understanding that people collectively are responsible for the planet and for all our lifestyles.   We are damned individually, but saved only collectively.  This is a sophisticated understanding, one we’re only just beginning to assimilate.

Listening requires the ability to establish inner quiet, the willingness to observe without judgement, the personal strength to allow openness to any and all stimuli. 

Listening should be applied to your inner self, to the movements of your personal energies and emotions.  This can be done through quiet times, meditation, journaling.  And listening should be applied much more regularly in relations with others.  The Quakers teach an awesome practice in which the listener asks questions, but only those questions that will help the speaker, and never just to satisfy the questionner’s curiosity.  Such intense and compassionate listening is designed to honestly help the speaker.

In business, listening translates into several practices that benefit leaders and workers alike.  Making listening an important part of organizational structure means that the business

  • is keenly tuned in to customer reactions;
  • works smoothly and harmoniously with vendors;
  • anticipates personnel problems before they arise;
  • has a well-appreciated and confident staff;
  • tends to be tuned in to world events, and ready with solutions whenever possible;
  • can quickly respond to new opportunities because of an intimate connection to all working parts.

More anon on this subject.