"Do I listen, really listen, to people who disagree with me?"
I like this question…and I don’t like it. I like it because listening is an essential component if I hope to become more innovative. To be already convinced of how it works is to miss the doorway to the edge of the envelope. It is in the moments where someone else’s idea slips past my guard that I see the what’s possible in a new light.
I don’t like it because it’s very hard. It’s very hard to be open to the idea that there might be a better way. It’s also very hard because I’ve trained for years to be a talker and not a listener. I’m having to unlearn the habit of planning my response instead of really listening.
And yet I believe that I can become the kind of person who listens really well. Pauses long enough to really hear. I read yesterday about a leader who had the practice of taking a bite of a sandwich just as he was asked a question, forcing the time to think about his answer. Don’t remember where I read it. Would be a great habit to develop.
The question is, "How will I develop this habit?" I’m thinking I’ll need to do be intentional. So ingrained is the habit of not listening, I’ll need to counteract with intention. How will I do it? For starters I just set a daily alarm on my phone. Ask me in a week if I’m making progress. Ask quietly. See if I’m listening!