2013 Listening Challenge
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2013 Listening Challenge

2013 Listening Challenge

american cocker spaniel with ear flying out - champion bloodlinesOn January 4, I recommended making one small change per month this year to become one of the best listeners in your organization and reap the rewards of better collaboration, higher trust, and improved teamwork. I want to thank everyone who’s reached out to tell me you’re doing the challenge and seeing the benefits. You rock!

If you’ve been participating, then pat yourself on the back. If not, please join us now. It’s never too late. Just jump in and enjoy the adventure.

Your Listening Challenge for October was:

“Use clean inquiries, which means a question that is not a criticism in disguise. For example, let’s say your team has made a strategic decision to end production of several custom products after the current contracts are honored, because the margins are too low and the products aren’t aligned with your long-term strategy.

A month later, a team member furrows her brow and says, “We have a lot of idle machines this month. Do you think I should approach the buyer on this account to see if he wants to do one more run?” An unclean inquiry would be, “I THOUGHT we agreed to DISCONTINUE this custom product, didn’t we?” It’s an accusation thinly disguised as a question, which is a filthy dirty inquiry designed to pick a fight or display dominance in a nasty way. A clean inquiry would be, “I’m concerned because that seems to me to go against our decision. What’s behind your thinking on this?” Clean inquiries are valuable beyond measure when you feel your emotions start to rise.”

How did it go?

Only two months to go, so turbo charge your engine to finish strong! Your listening challenge for November, if you are willing to accept it, is:

“Confirm understanding. Also known as paraphrasing, this technique ensures that you really do understand what the other person has been trying to tell you. You can keep it simple by just paraphrasing. For example, “So you believe that we can accrue goodwill points by running one more low-margin order while we’re negotiating with them for the order that’s aligned with our long-term strategy. Is that correct?” Alternately, you can introduce your paraphrasing using phrases such as, “So the main point you’d like me to understand is…” Confirming understanding will save you hundreds of hours of wasted time due to hidden misalignments and misinterpretations.”

Let me know how it’s going, share your thoughts, and ask your questions any time at: http://jenniferselbylong.com/?p=573.