I was recently invited to join the inspirational Clint Pulver on the CMI Speakers podcast. Clint speaks my kind of language and helps others conduct business from the heart while also exemplifying a growth mindset. In the episode, I talked about the importance of creating a culture of listening within an organization.
Most people reading this will understand the value of listening. But I am also conscious there are many busy CEOs and overstressed leaders who have a long to-do list and have given up all hope of ever reaching inbox zero. A global pandemic just disrupted their industry. They also have 101 things weighing on their mind, a sea of distractions competing for their attention, and they nervously admit that they don’t have the time.
This is something that I see and hear time and time again. But we need to remember that your employees are on the frontline with your customers. They’re the ones who will know the most about your business and understand your customers better than anyone. It’s these same customers that pay your bills and deliver profitability. If leaders fail to listen to the people closest to where the profit comes from, their business will unwittingly drift into trouble.
When we are listening to all levels of the organization, from the frontline all the way up, we’re able to then aggregate those voices in a way that speaks to us. It also helps build a strategy and increase productivity. When people feel like their voices are heard, something magical happens. Employees feel that their opinion and insights matter. When they feel empowered to make a difference, they’re going to go the extra mile for both the team and the organization.
Once again, most leaders I work with instantly get the value of creating a culture of listening. The questions that I get asked the most are, what steps do we need to take? And how do we bring this to life? I cannot stress enough the importance of having a plan. You will be going on a journey of discovery to learn what your employees need from you and how to deliver a better experience inside the workplace.
When they have that better experience, what will make them go the extra mile? What’s going to make them so enthused that they’re going to sell more products, improve customer interaction and morale in their teams. All of these things will come to the forefront. But we have to start with listening first.
Your strategy needs to be multi-tier and start top to bottom. You have to ensure that your managers, leaders, and team members are conversing around the big topics in your organization. If I could leave you all one piece of advice, it would be to reach out and talk to your employees. After a year of uncertainty, there is a great deal of stress and anxiety out there that is causing an increase in mental health issues.
Creating a culture of listening can begin with a simple phone call and saying, I just wanted to see how you’re doing. What can I do for you? And just listen. This is something that every team in every organization should make time for. Remember, if you want to carry on this conversation or need help exploring this topic further, please reach out to me.