August 7, 2019

Sometimes listening isn’t

One of the key topics in our Active Management Programme (AMP) is on communication (in fact it underpins several topics).

In a recent AMP Co-lab meeting with a client’s team, we discussed both clear transmission and listening actively. Mark made a wonderful observation that sometimes listening is not conducted face to face. Sometimes the most important part of listening is to go away and think about what the other person has said and continue the discussion later.

I learned in my 1:1 briefing session with his boss (which we do straight after the Co-lab) where this observation might have come from.

When we designed AMP, we asked our first client for their input which turned into a bit of co-creation. Mike, the Managing Director, wanted to know that his team were actually completing the modules. We came up with the idea of a monthly check-in between the MD and each manager that morphed into a monthly individual coaching session. We know that the answer to “How much time do you spend coaching your managers?” is always “Never enough”. So, the coaching session has become a vehicle for MDs to spend structured time coaching their managers. That alone is gold.

Mark’s boss told me had engineered a bit of a “loud debate” with Mark in front of the design team. A day or two later they’d had a post-mortem on the “loud debate”. And then a few days after that they had a conversation about communication in the context of their monthly AMP coaching session.

It was a rich and productive conversation that got them aligned and gave them a much deeper understanding of each other’s positions but also respect for each other’s abilities.

Communication is about so much more than talking and listening. It’s about two human beings connecting.

Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below, and share on your favourite social media platform.

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