Posts Tagged ‘Self-Improvement’

Why Ask … if You’re Not Going to Listen

American television and radio host, Larry King, once stated: “I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So, if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” The problem I see with most people in management these days, is they have forgotten how to listen. It’s as if, now that they have power over people, they’ve decided there is only one way to do things, THEIR WAY. Yes, there is only one way to do things, the RIGHT WAY … and the only way to find that way … is to listen to the people who are involved in doing it every day.

Walmart has over 11,000 locations, 2.3 million employees and did over $482.13 billion in sales last year. Their founder, Sam Walton, once stated : “The key to success is to get out into the store and listen to what the associates have to say. It’s terribly important for everyone to get involved. Our best ideas come from clerks and stock boys.” Most managers aren’t great listeners, and because that is the case, they will always remain ordinary leaders. The captains of industry understand that listening is the most valuable of leadership skills. The only way to identify problems and opportunities is to listen. We all should take note that our ears will never get us in trouble ; not only will they not get us in trouble, they will also help keep us out of trouble.

The Schwinn bicycle company was founded in 1895. By the 1950’s they totally dominated the bicycle market, but because of their leader’s management style, that was soon not to be the case. Edward Schwinn, the CEO in the mid 1980’s made it clear to everyone, that he did not like to be contradicted. He personally believed that mountain bikes were a passing fad and therefore, argued against putting any investment into advancing the mountain bike category. One senior executive with the company, totally disagreed with Mr. Schwinn’s reasoning during a strategic management meeting. Mr. Schwinn adjourned the meeting and told everyone that they would reconvene in two weeks for further discussion on the subject. During the two-week break, Mr. Schwinn fired the senior executive who disagreed with him. When they reconvened two weeks later, did any one of the remaining senior executives speak out against Mr. Schwinn’s reasoning? NOPE! … which turned out to be a catastrophic mistake. Schwinn went bankrupt and is now owned by a Chinese firm who wanted the brand name.

There is no reason to have a meeting if you are not going to listen to the suggestions of the people in the room; it is a total waste of time and frustrating to everyone attending the meeting. I have also found, in most cases, that the size of a person’s ego and ears(listening) are directly related … the larger the ego the smaller the ears. Great managers/leaders surround themselves with talent and then listen to what they have to say. There is an old Turkish proverb that states: “If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.”

Listening - LinkedIn


It is a new year with new opportunities and new challenges. According to Forbes magazine, over 40% of Americans prepare a New Year’s Resolutions list. Self-improvement (48%) is the top category for resolutions; weight (38%), money (34%), and relationships (31%) round out the top four “Resolution Types.”

Age seems to play a huge role in the success rate of achieving your New Year’s Resolution. 39% of the people in their twenties achieve their resolution, while only 14% of people over fifty do so. 25% of the people who take the time to write-up their New Year’s Resolution, only last one week, before going back to their old ways. That number jumps to 34% by the end of one month. The Statistic Brain Research Institute found that only 8% are successful in achieving their resolutions; now that is a depressing number.

Is there a better way to approach having a more successful year? I think so; it doesn’t take much to improve on a 92% failure rate. Instead of approaching the New Year with just a Resolution list, maybe you should “also” give some consideration to approaching the New Year with a new system for addressing each day. In preparing for one of my programs, I was researching my client and found something, I feel, would be tremendously useful to anyone; it came from their Value Statement. They created an acrostic for the word POWER.

Power - 4

If you incorporate these five values into the way you approach any task, problem, challenge or goal … you will greatly enhance your chances for succeeding. You have just begun writing the 365 page book that will chronicle YOUR new year. You are the author, editor and publisher … the one fully responsible for how your book turns out. Artist and writer, Christine Mason Miller once stated, “At any given moment you have the POWER to say, ‘this is not how the story is going to end.’” Your past doesn’t have to decide your future. You have the choice and the opportunity to start anew and there is no better time to do that, than right now.

So, instead of fretting over not accomplishing one of your New Year’s Resolutions, pay more attention to how you address, approach, and attack each day. When you have Pride in your work, always delivering an Outstanding effort, keeping a Winning attitude no matter what the circumstances, never losing sight of what is Ethical, while always Respecting others … your reputation will soar. Always remember:

It takes P.O.W.E.R. to be successful.

%d bloggers like this: