Jerome Groopman, in his book, “How Doctors Think” says that it is widely understood by Doctors that the best source of understanding of a patient’s ailments is, of course, the patient.  Over the course of a five to ten-minute consultation, the Doctor will find out many aspects of the ailment, sufficient for him to offer a reliable diagnosis.  However, on average the time taken from when the patient starts speaking to when the Doctor interrupts with his opinion is 18 seconds.

This could also apply to leaders, managers or in fact to any of our relationships with friends, partners and our children.

Tom Peters (Author of In Search of Excellence), believes that seven out of every eight managers are 18-second managers, i.e. I have seen this before, the answer is, you should do.

How about you, are you an 18-second manager, partner or parent?

Tom says, “I have come to the conclusion that the single most significant strategic strength of an organisation can have is not a good strategic plan but a commitment to strategic listening on the part of every member of the organisation.  Strategic listening to front-line employees, vendors, customers.”

He goes on, “The number one core course in Tom’s MBA programme is going to be a two-part, six-month programme called Strategic Listening One and Strategic Listening Two.  The reality is that you can teach listening, you can get better at listening, there is no issue about that.  But guess what, it is like playing the piano, becoming an actor, like becoming an artist, it is a profession that has to be learned.  It is my opinion as a leader or as a team member that to a significant degree your profession is listening.  So think about it, are you an 18-second Manager?  I bet you are!”

So how about you, are you an 18-second leader, manager, partner, brother, sister or parent?

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COLIN is ‘The Listener’, a listening skills specialist and the ‘go-to’ person for individuals and teams who want to be heard, think for themselves, and transform their business and personal relationships through active listening. Colin has that innate ability to actively listen to people. He works with management, project and creative teams, facilitating the development and improvement of their listening and thinking skills. Thereby equipping them to more effectively meet their business, relationship and service challenges. He also works privately with individuals, enabling them to feel heard and valued, to think more clearly for themselves, articulate their creative ideas, address their personal concerns, and achieve their personal and professional goals. Colin has had a varied and successful career in consultancy, business development, IT and customer support, across many sectors, including finance, motor, retail and the NHS. In looking back he realises that much of his success was due to his listening and connecting abilities. His inquisitive and curious mind also enables him to explore, with others, unusual, thought-provoking, yet grounded, observations and alternative approaches to business, people, systems, and change. To make things happen, and to take ideas and thinking further, he connects his Clients with his trusted network of entrepreneurs, consultants, thought leaders, free thinkers, coaches and change makers.
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