Real Listening To Hear What Is Being Said

It takes real listening to hear what’s actually being said

A while back I was asked a pretty challenging question: what do you believe are the seven key characteristics of a successful board?

Challenging, I guess, because there are many attributes justifiably vying for a spot in the seven. And while I pondered a good number of these, it didn’t take me long to scribble down ‘listening’ as a major trait prevalent on all winning boards.

That’s probably because it’s such a flaw in life generally and in business particularly. An uncomfortable truth is that our technological society and our reliance on communication tools like iPhones and email means we tend to ‘hear’ rather than ‘listen’.

In fact, really, honestly listening to customers happens so seldom these days that you can actually gain a competitive advantage just by doing it.

Like everything else, though, becoming good at it takes time and effort. We need to learn how to listen and then practice our listening skills, day in and day out.

I’d like to think Governance Matters has been listening.

Particularly to busy board members who’ve told us that while they truly value ongoing training and have a genuine desire for personal development, they’re time poor.

That’s why we devised Board Minded, our world-first online subscription service that carries a raft of topics, presentations and modules, delivered by some of the most adept and influential people in business, both here in Australia and abroad.

The real beauty is that when you sign up to Board Minded, you get access to the material you want, as often as you want it and always at a time that works for you – either together as a board or alone as individual members of a board.

Through topics such as ‘Improving Board Decision Making’, ‘Encouraging Boards to Think, Plan and Act Strategically’ and ‘Duties and Responsibilities of Directors’ you’ll gain an appreciation of multi-faceted listening that deals with face-to-face and technological interaction…and everything in between.

You’ll also grasp a broadness and depth that helps you to place what you hear in context and you’ll emerge as a board with its collective finger very much on the pulse of the organisation.

You’ll know where the organisation stands in the eyes of those who determine its success or failure and you’ll be aware of how it is travelling in relation to the agreed strategic direction and timeline.

But perhaps most importantly, you’ll be better positioned to identify and convey what steps management can take to address any shortcomings and keep the organisation on track to deliver on its strategic targets.

As I said earlier, real listening is so rare that those who actually practice it will stand out from the crowd and reap the benefits – for themselves, their boards and their organisations.

I’m sure you’ve been listening…and look forward to hearing from you!

Until next time…

Kate Costello

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