When we work with clients and help them define the qualities they want in a high performance mindset, they often include things like openness, calmness, creativity, focus, and emotional intelligence. The list goes on but these elements I purposefully point out because one way they are deeply developed is through the art of listening. On TED, Julian Treasure presents a masterful presentation on the lost art of listening and the skills to actually become a better listener http://on.ted.com/f0PZX. Interestingly enough, with almost every leader I have ever coached, we have worked on their ability to ask better questions and to listen better for the answers within the answers.
A friend of mine, Curt Cronin (a US Navy Seal Team 6 Commander and Co-Founder of Mastery Technologies), told me that one thing he has learned from all of his missions was that “every human being behaves logically based on their perception of the world”. This is not just true in hostile areas in the world, it is true within your team, within your company, and within your family. What Curt was referring to was that one of the most critical skills a Navy Seal must learn is to be a great listener.
As the world gets busier, and we respond by becoming more chaotic, one thing that gets lost is the ability to calm ourselves down (Tignum Recovery), quiet our mind, and set the clear intention of listening better. In teaching our clients to be better at their peak performances such as key meetings, negotiations, and presentations, one key element we discuss is setting clear intentions as to what success will look like. Rarely, if ever, is the skill of listening not a critical element to creating that success. That’s right, you heard correctly, a big part of being a great presenter is listening.
One of the big challenges to developing a high performance Mindset is that there is no finish line. It is always a work in progress. No where is this probably more true than developing the skill of listening. As you listen (and watch) Julian Treasure’s TED talk, I’d love to hear what you think.