You know a lot. You have studied hard and worked diligently to accumulate all of your knowledge. In fact, your success has been built on all of this knowledge, experience, and expertise.
Where do you keep all that you know? In your head? In your conversations?
I would like you to consider that you keep it in your listening, or rather, you listen through it and that listening colors and shapes everything you are dealing with. However, it keeps you operating in the realm of what you already know. This is what allows you to deliver predictable, business as usual results. If you are interested in producing unprecedented results it might be getting in your way!
Said more simply, the way we listen determines what can be said, what can be heard, and ultimately, what results can be produced.
Nothing new can be heard or created when you are listening from knowing. Whether you know “them”, or you know about “it”, or how “it should be” or “what shouldn’t be” or you already know “what is and isn’t going to work” limits what you can create.
Change your listening
If you are out to produce extraordinary results, all your valuable knowledge while useful in ordinary circumstances has to be put to the side. Even though you cannot (and should not) completely empty out all of your preconceived ideas, opinions, and fixed points of view, you can put them sufficiently to one side to create the space for something new, then you can start listening for what you can’t see.
When faced with the challenge of delivering results that seem almost impossible, listening to your people to discover something new, something of value, of interest, gives you an edge. You have to start with what you know, what you are certain about and entertain the idea that it “ain’t necessarily so”. Then you can listen to your people and their ideas with real curiosity to discover what they have that can help build the extraordinary results you are after.
Change your results
Try it out. Think of one situation where you are not getting the results you want. Write down everything you know about the situation and the people involved. Now comes the hard work, consider that it “ain’t necessarily so”. Now you can start listening in a way that something new can get created in your conversation with these people in.
Managing the way you listen takes discipline, thought, and preparation. The prize is getting real value out of your people. And, your organization is where real innovation becomes possible.
If you adopt this way of listening, not only will you get the most out of all your teams but you will discover and create valuable ideas that can be transformed into products that benefit your customers and create your future value.