Learning to Listen

Learning to Listen

Highlights by David Willden

The author of this article is Bernard T. Ferrari.  Mr. Ferrari was a surgeon, a top level executive, and a management consultant with McKinsey & Associates.  This short article is a “easy to read” and an “important read” – particularly for leaders.

Most Leaders Concentrate on the Best Way to Articulate vs. How to Become Better Listeners

In truth, most leaders take listening abilities for granted and instead focus on understanding how to best communicate and share their particular views. This thinking is misdirected.

Powerful listening skills make a important difference, but very few seem to develop them.

Listening Assists Most in Informed Decision Making

Listening is part of making decisions. It is the best, most productive way to get needed help to make smart decisions.   Most of us have heard, at one time or other, that we could actually be more effective listeners.

Good listening is paramount to developing a foundation of information that creates new insights. Good listening can frequently mean the difference between success and failure in business. Listening is a priceless talent that most leaders expend a small amount of time creating.

1. Be respective

2. Be Quiet and Listen

3. Dig into Assumptions


The executive’s guide to better listening – McKinsey Quarterly – Governance – Leadership

In this Article a senior executive of a large consumer goods company had spotted a bold partnership opportunity in an important developing market and wanted to pull the trigger quickly to stay ahead of competitors. In meetings on the topic with the leadership team, the CEO noted that this trusted colleague was animated, adamant, and very persuasive about the move’s game-changing potential for the company. The facts behind the deal were solid. The CEO also observed something troubling, however: his colleague wasn’t listening. During conversations about the pros and cons of the deal and its strategic rationale, for example, the senior executive wasn’t open to avenues of conversation that challenged the move or entertained other possibilities. What’s more, the tenor of these conversations appeared to make some colleagues uncomfortable. 


Learning to Listen

Learning to Listen