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Are you a good listener? | Issue #146

How Listening To Your People Will Power Your Business Growth

You know the importance of listening to customers. It’s a no-brainer. How else do you ensure good retention and satisfaction levels?  But what about your employees?  Are you good at listening to them?  Do they feel heard?

In our experience, CEOs can be great at broadcasting messages and communicating initiatives.  But if they’re not actively listening, how do they know if those messages are getting through?  Or how their staff feel when they receive that information?  Top-down communication is essential – no doubt about that.  But bottom-up feedback should be a bigger priority.

Listening makes life complicated.  Maybe that’s why leaders find it hard.  If you have certainty over something and you value that sense of assurance, listening is not high on your list. That’s because you know it’s going to mess with your certainty.  When you seek feedback on a new vision or idea, you have to be prepared for difficult questions.  Your confidence is likely to be challenged and, if you’re insecure, it’s tempting not to open up the dialogue in the first place. 

However, it’s a fact that staff who feel heard are happier, more productive and engaged.  And you need happy, engaged employees if you’re going to have any hope of growing your business. So, make it deliberate.  Focus on becoming a listening organisation.

How to Become a Self-Evolved Leader with Dave McKeown

Are you the founder or the leader of a fast-paced organisation and you’re wondering why your once high performing team are now sort of bumbling along, barely scraping by – simply not being great anymore?

Then you need Dave McKeown, founder and CEO of Outfield Leadership. Dave’s written a fantastic book – The Self Evolved Leader, and so in this episode, we discuss that and the all too common issue of Learned Helplessness. 

Learned Helplessness is a situation where the founder, leader or CEO, gets the team over the line by being heroic and doing all the work themselves, or they’re the one everyone defers to because they have the technical, business or sales knowledge. They do everything themselves, they don’t bring their team up with them. 

So, if you want to be a better leader, you have to become a self-evolved leader and learn to get out of your way. Because if you don’t, you’re going to stop your organisation or team from developing. 

To learn some practical ways to become a more self-evolved leader, don’t miss this latest episode of The Melting Pot. We really enjoyed this conversation with Dave, we’re sure you will too.

Eat Sleep Work Repeat

Better workplace culture… How can make work better? Each week Bruce Daisley chats to scientists and experts to improve our jobs.

The mindsets and practices of excellent CEOs

A company has only one peerless role: chief executive officer. It’s the most powerful and sought-after title in business, more exciting, rewarding, and influential than any other. What the CEO controls—the company’s biggest moves—accounts for 45 per cent of a company’s performance. Despite the lustre of the role, serving as a CEO can be all-consuming, lonely, and stressful. Just three in five newly appointed CEOs live up to performance expectations in their first 18 months on the job.

Post-pandemic return to work is a perfect opportunity to move to a four-day week

The gradual easing of lockdowns and social restrictions opens the possibility of a welcome return to pre-pandemic habits. This might mean trips to the cinema, eating in restaurants, or attending a large wedding. For millions of people, it will also mean reverting to a pattern of work that includes regular stints in the office.

The most agile day

Every organization today may find itself heading toward an abrupt environmental shift that poses an existential threat, a transformational opportunity, or both. The disruption already happening across all domains is staggering, and it’s picking up speed. But leaders confronting such changes start at a disadvantage. Evolution has endowed humans with traits that don’t mix well with complexity and uncertainty, as such environments tend to make people risk-averse, either impulsive or reluctant to act, and focused on fending off dangers.

Arguing With Zombies by Paul Krugman

An accessible, compelling introduction to today’s major policy issues from columnist, best-selling author and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman. There is no better guide than Paul Krugman to basic economics, the ideas that animate much of our public policy. Likewise, there is no better foe of zombie economics, the misunderstandings that just won’t die. Arguing with Zombies is Krugman “the most hated and most admired columnist in the US” (Martin Wolf, Financial Times) at his best, turning readers into intelligent consumers of the daily news with quick, vivid sketches of the key concepts behind taxes, health care, international trade and more. In this new book, in which he builds on and expands his The New York Times columns and other writings, the most celebrated economist of his generation (The Economist), offers short, accessible chapters on topics including the European Union and Brexit, the fight for national health care in the United States, the financial meltdown of 2007 2008, the attack on Social Security and the fraudulent argument the ultimate zombie that tax cuts for the rich will benefit all.

Mother of Invention by Katrine Marcal

Bestselling author Katrine Marçal reveals the shocking ways our deeply ingrained ideas about gender continue to hold us back. Every day, extraordinary inventions and innovative ideas are side-lined in a world that remains subservient to men. But it doesn’t have to be this way. From the beginning of time, women have been pivotal to our society, offering ingenious solutions to some of our most vexing problems. More recently, it is women who have transformed the way we shop online, revolutionised the lives of disabled people and put the climate crisis at the top of the agenda. Despite these successes, we still fail to find and fund the game-changing ideas that could alter the future of our planet, giving just 3% of venture capital to female founders. Instead, ingrained ideas about men and women continue to shape our economic decisions; favouring men and leading us to the same tired set of solutions. For too long we have underestimated the consequences of sexism in our economy, and the way it holds all of us – women and men – back. Katrine Marcal’s blistering critique sets the record straight and shows how, in a time of crisis, the ingenuity and intelligence of women is that very thing that can save us.


Recognise that a high performing culture isn’t ‘soft’

Sometimes, when we speak to clients about high performing business cultures, they perceive them as ‘soft’ or ‘nice’.  In fact, they’re anything but.  If you’ve taken radical candour to heart, that can be tough on everyone.  And if you’ve successfully rolled out OKRs, you have a framework for accountability that is certainly not ‘soft’.  When people are dissenting, you might have to thank them.  A member of the team might drop the ball, taking a misstep with a customer or employee, leading to them needing to say sorry.  Again, this is hard.  It’s natural to look at a cohesive, high performing team with its ready camaraderie and imagine this comes easily. But these people have come together to do good work with people they respect and have reconciled explicit expectations and vulnerability. Building psychological safety in this way takes time, effort and hard work.

Quote of the week

“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said”

Peter Drucker

Dominic Monkhouse

Dominic offers business coaching and management development, strategy planning and organisational change, using tried and tested methods to launch your organisation onto an unparalleled growth trajectory. His programme is a function of his broad experience, his deep expertise and a proven process used by over 2,700 firms worldwide.

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