In his book Russell Rules, Basketball legend Bill Russell says the following about listening…
“If lack of listening was an illness, it would be an epidemic. One of the consequences of a society that can’t and won’t listen is a shallowness of understanding, a lack of appreciation for anything but the simple minded… Listening is essential to winning. If you don’t listen, you can’t win.”
Thoughts Joe and Wanda?
Joe Kerr: What did you say? No, I’m serious. You lost me with the shallowness thing. That was one long quote. Actually, I’m trying to get myself quoted. I’ve really enjoyed borrowing from others over the years, but I want a quote that I can call my own. I wouldn’t call it an obsession, but I think about it an awful lot, like in our weekly status meeting. My mind’s always working on something creative. I just can’t help it, I’m an innovator.
Wanda B. Goode: Tough to argue with that quote. I find that no matter how much I think I know about a particular topic, I can always learn more from others. Team members are closest to the customer, so they have a wealth of information, knowledge, and ideas. My job is to create an environment where they willingly contribute their thoughts, even if they are not in agreement with mine. Not many things build trust more than when a manager admits her idea is wrong (or not the best) and takes the advice of a team member. So, I frequently solicit input from team members, do what I can to help implement their ideas, make sure they get full credit, and thank and reward them for their contributions.