Communication Skills Hints

Tom Peters on Listening
September 12, 2011, 12:36 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have been very impressed by the comments of Tom Peters about strategic listening.  Tom Peters says that strategic listening is the most significant strategic advantage for any organization on YouTube (google Tom Peters strategic listening to view his commentary).  His comments have caused me to ponder the importance of listening skills.  He says that strategic listening across an organization is even more important than a strategic plan. This basically says that an understanding of the playing field is more important than understanding the goals themselves.   If you don’t understand the playing field, it is very difficult to win. What general would go into battle without an understanding of the field of conflict.  You should really see this video to get excited about developing listening skills, his style can be very compelling as many of you know.  The first question is obviously:  “what is strategic listening?”.  Strategic is defines as important or essential in relation to a plan of action (the Free Dictionary).  If you want to achieve success in any enterprise through a plan of action, strategic listening is essential. It is the understanding the perspective of front line employees, vendors and customers per Tom Peters. It can also include investors, management etc.  A requirement to come to an understanding of the perspective of each group of people is active listening skills. If you are poor listener, you only need to watch almost any reality show to understand how poorly people often listen and to see how destructive an absence of listening can be (Any Real Housewives variant can be very instructive).


Tom also comments that listening is a learned skill. There are techniques discussed in my previous blogs that can help you be a better listener and ultimately be more effective in your job and life relationships.  I attended a seminar with a speaker from a major government contractor on training practices within their company.  It was singularly focused on technical skills and interpersonal and leadership skills were an item which was expected to evolved its own.  These skills do not optimally develop on their own.  I really felt that this was missed opportunity.  Every manager loves an employee with great technical skill.  But in my experience, an employee with great technical understanding but poor interpersonal skill often fails to have an impact.


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