You never know where the best, new idea might come from. When a good idea strikes, most of us instinctively recognize it. It’s an immediate connection. But, it doesn’t do us any good if we’re not listening.
Some of the most innovative thoughts come up in a quick, casual conversation or informal brainstorming session. Or it might strike you as you’re driving to work, or when you’re talking to colleagues, during those times that used to be known as “around the water cooler conversations.” In my case, it’s the Monday morning meetings when we gather around the boardroom table to plan the week, discuss priorities, and in general, take the long view on what’s coming up.
As we start talking, ideas begin to flow. Sometimes we find the best strategies weren’t even on the list. That’s because we’re engaged and listening. Some of the best ideas in business are hatched this way. Think about Apple CEO Steve Jobs, IBM’s Tom Watson, and other business visionaries. Their ideas are a big part of the way we work today.
Here’s something to make you think. A top executive was recently quoted in Harvard Business Review as saying, “I never thought of listening as an important subject by itself. But now that I’m aware, I think 80% of my work depends on my listening to someone, or someone else listening to me.”
Take a few minutes to listen. It will help you gain insights into the issues that matter in your business, to your employees and the customers you serve. That’s the real value of listening.