Hidden in Plain Sight: Listening

What if the answers to your team’s most pressing questions were hidden in plain sight?

In this interview with Kevin Sharer, the biotech giant CEO describes his epiphany about listening, well into his tenure of senior leadership.

Deep or ‘strategic’ listening feeds the vitality of a relationship system; it unearths hidden information, and it strengthens your connection to the speaker.

“…strategic listening: a purposeful, multifaceted, time-sensitive listening system that helps you get the signals you need from your ecosystem.”

Like any complex skill, it takes practice and the humility to welcome feedback about our progress. We need to know when our listening results in someone feeling heard and respected; and alternatively, when our listening results in someone feeling critiqued, debated or convinced.

“Listening for comprehension helps you get that information, of course, but it’s more than that: it’s also the greatest sign of respect you can give someone.”

Any of us can learn to listen at this level, and generate the profound impact that Sharer describes. Interestingly, I’ve found that building this skill doesn’t become a priority for most people until they hit a wall in their own effectiveness, and it’s clear that none of the previously successful strategies for getting results is going to work. Good news: you don’t have to wait for such high stakes. Just select a conversation or relationship, and then practice being intentional, open, and curious while you listen.

What result are you invested in where the deeper, more strategic listening would get you the vital information or strengthened relationship you need to be successful?

Which ‘hotspot’ on your team would benefit from a good dose of strategic listening?



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