I came across an interesting question (I can’t remember the source). The topic was listening and the question was after talking with someone “did I really listen? Did I understand what they really wanted me to do – and what they wanted me not to do?”
It was the last part that I found most interesting. In the super busy time we are all in, we have a tendency to listen for what others want us to do, but rarely do we think about what they don’t want us to do. As an executive myself, and an advisor to many other executives, I often experience the exasperation of ineffective communication. I find myself thinking – and saying – “Why did they do that?” I realize the intent is almost always in alignment with my desire, but the action often isn’t.
A long time ago I learned that a “stop doing list” was far more powerful than the traditional to-do list. I shouldn’t be surprised to uncover that this theme also applies to communication. I think that if we all spent more time understanding what isn’t expected, and communicating it when we establish expectations, we’d all be more effective.
What do you think?