How to gather information necessary for implementing change

Maxim # 8
Listen more than you talk

This maxim reflects the fact that you will be far more effective in engineering people to change if you listen more than you talk. It is very relevant for managers because they are often tasked with trying to get people to change how they do things due to new processes, new technologies, new systems, or new performance requirements. Through listening, managers can better understand people’s needs and wants and can use this understanding to help engineer change. During an “opportunity analysis” our consultants can gather essential information necessary to implement change using this maxim.

This is another maxim that seems self-evident but is often contrary to how people often act. By listening more than you talk you usually come across as humble, interested and caring. In contrast, the person who talks too much and doesn’t listen can come across as arrogant, uninterested and uncaring. Unfortunately, many people are bad listeners, and many people would rather talk than listen. Listening is only effective if the listening is genuine, which means you want to understand what the person is saying and what the person means. Letting someone finish their sentence so you can throw in your next argument, is not listening. Listening requires shutting your mind to other thoughts and focusing on the words and meaning of the individual who is speaking. In addition, most people like to hear themselves talk. They think their opinion is important and they like to share that opinion. These two natural tendencies make it difficult for most people to live up to this maxim.

Most people find that it is quite difficult to do this properly. During your next meeting or interaction, give it a try and make a conscious effort to sit back and listen with more intensity and really process what is being said. Then tell us what you think about this simple, but effective maxim of listening more than you talk.