High Gain - The Business of Listening  

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Free Booklet:
Power Up! Listening Skills for the 21st Century

    Listening at work   Listening Programs   Effective listening   Listening tools and programs  



Glen Rifkin
The Business of Listening
Listening effectively is the ultimate strategic advantage. When you are attuned to what your marketplace, competitors and employees are saying and thinking—with maximum clarity—you can innovate and compete successfully.

SuperQuinn, a grocery chain and shopping mall operator in Ireland, has built an empire based on Strategic Listening. The CEO, Feargal Quinn, is known as Ireland's "Pope of Customer Service". His organization dominates its markets, competing against much bigger rivals.

As Quinn says: "My customers know more than I do. My employees know more than I do. Neither my employees nor I can be creative all of the time. What I knew yesterday is not enough for today. I'm not responding fast enough for my customer." Listening was the key to solving these problems.

This ability to listen in a penetrating, focused way to your primary constituents allows you to practice what we have coined as the Clarity Principle. The components of this principle include quality listening time, overcoming institutional barriers, fostering mutual respect, and creating management access. At the heart of this principle is the realization that all humans experience the world through a set of filters and blocks that shape how we perceive the world. Unless you take the time to fully understand others’ points-of-view, to their satisfaction, then you are not really listening.

Many corporations, from IBM to Honda to Nordstrom, have cited listening as a critical management skill. Many more make claims to listening in advertising campaigns. Yet, despite its importance, listening is often at the bottom of the hierarchy of communication skills taught in the work place. Most people have more training in reading, writing, and speaking than they do in listening—even though studies show all of us spend far more time listening. (60% of a typical manager's day is spent listening.)

HighGain® can help you tackle this challenge. We have condensed online courses for quick improvement hits along with one and two-day onsite programs, individual performance improvement, and a Strategic Listening System.

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