The Difference Between Hearing & Listening


When you ask a question, are you searching for a person’s knowledge or waiting to hear the answer you want?

There’s a saying about business that goes something like this: “If you look around and find you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” Meaning, you’d be wise to surround yourself with people from whom you can learn, as well as teach.

Collaboration is one of the many keys to success. And while we can go into a project or situation with an idea of what we want to accomplish, we should never let that shut down the creativity and ideas we get from the people with whom we interact.

Some of the best ideas can come from the most unanticipated of sources.

I try to be focused on the goal, not the path. Because I’m really not interested in how I get to the end, as long as I make it there.

What are you listening for?

Are you REALLY working in that office?

Office Space

I try to be in the office as little as possible.

It’s not that I don’t want to work, or that I want to always be on a warm, sunny beach with a drink in my hand (ok, that second part is true).

It’s that offices can lull us into a false sense of security about what we are actually accomplishing. There we are, sitting at a desk, surrounded by colleagues that are doing the same. Phones are ringing, emails are being sent, coffee is brewing. But what are we accomplishing?

There are benefits to being in an office: we are around our colleagues, able to collaborate face-to-face. We can focus all our energy on tasks that need completion, without the distractions that are associated with being at home or in a coffee shop. And we have access to resources we might otherwise not have, including documents and computer files (although in our hyper connected world, if you don’t have access to your computer files wherever you are, you are sorely out of touch).

But there are also traps to being ensconced in an office, the worst of which is that being “at work” convinces us that we are actually working.

For those of us in the client service business, that’s a huge lie. And one that can cost us everything we leave our families every day and go to work for.

Let’s be honest: many of us can work from wherever we are in the world, so long as we have a cell signal and/or Wi-Fi. And getting out of the office gets us in front of people: those other humans we need and need to know, who help us collaborate and get things done. People who give us new ideas, force us to challenge our preconceived notions and give us a new appreciation for which way the world is turning.

Hiding in an office kills all of that.

I try to get out of the office regularly, to see people for lunch or coffee, to chat over what they’re working on, something interesting I have read or discuss new business or projects. I am lucky to work at a place that encourages that behavior.

Some office cultures despise and actively discourage being out of the office. Those cultures are destined to fail.