The Rewards of Listening

It seems like 2013 just got started and we are already at the end of January. Beginning a new year is always exciting, as Listeningwe typically resolve to make improvements. While not a resolution, I made a personal commitment to strive to listen better. Listening is vital – hearing what others are saying is what makes listening valuable and it ultimately has it own rewards.

As we close out January I am seriously awestruck by what I have heard from business prospects and clients throughout this month. Listening is just a start – how we react, respond and produce results is what truly matters.

As I’ve listened this month, here’s what I’ve heard:

“We want you to raise our retainer fee.” Now that’s a first. Our client asked us to raise our fee by a set percentage as they wanted our firm to share in their success. To me this may be the ultimate recognition of a true partnership between firm and client, and a wonderful compliment to our work. The resulting reward is that we raised the bar for what we will deliver every day in this client relationship to yet a whole new level.

“Listening to your passion makes me want to go to work for you.” When the prospect says that after hearing your firm’s pitch for their business, you know they have already experienced the passion your team brings in their work. The resulting reward is a foundation of trust to build the working relationship with passion to help them achieve their goals.

“Best pitch ever. You blew the others away with your creativity.” Those are strong sentiments to hear after your team pitches a highly competitive national prospect. Yes, we won the business as the result of tenacious teamwork and creativity that positively differentiates our work. The resulting reward is that we continue to improve and innovate internally so we can share those great ideas with clients to grow their business.

The rewards of listening are not in hearing your own voice or thoughts but rather in experiencing the end result of what dedication, passion and creativity articulate in their own ways. You bet I will be listening even more.


Communication + Teamwork = Great Taste

If you ever have the opportunity to dine at one of Ted Turner’s restaurants, Ted’s Montana Grill, be sure to request the best seat in the house – at the bar on the end in front of the grill and food prep area. My wife and I have found that not only do you get seated much quicker, you get to meet some of most friendly and talented staff in the restaurant business.

Dining while seated at the bar in Ted’s Tallahassee location also afforded us the occassion to witness how constant communication and teamwork combined to turn out a great product, in this case great food. Working furiously in a small cramped area with the heat cranking from the grill, steamer, ovens and fryer, this talented team continuously multi-tasked through a variety of orders, each of which was handled in an quick orderly process. To those seated at tables, they just realized it did not take long to get good food served fresh and fast.
What we saw and enjoyed with our meal was an organized team that communicated in normal tones with all of their co-workers and that team members jumped in and helped one another without being asked and without gripping or complaining. We got to be eyewitnesses to working examples of good communication and true teamwork.
A quality product produced in short order through the right recipe of communication and teamwork…add the special touch of fresh strawberry shortcake and you’ve created satisfied customers.