Listening is a vast ocean surrounded by empty beaches.
I’ve been paying attention to listening, both my own and others. You’re more likely to meet a red-crested tree rat* than to meet someone who actually listens.
5 reasons shallow listening is normal:
Set the stage for deep listening:
Unfocused conversations feel like chasing chickens.
Establish conversational direction or you’ll end up exhausted and disappointed.
Three C’s for listening like a leader:
Although listening takes energy, it requires a calm spirit.
Inner agitation blocks listening.
Set a fence around your listening space. You don’t have anything else to do except attend to the person speaking.
Explain time limits before you begin. Because listening requires rigor, you might need to set short-time limits.
After explaining limits, attend fully.
The character of a listening leader:
Churchill put it this way, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
“Compassion is the quality of having positive intentions for others. … It’s the ability to understand others and use that as a catalyst for supportive action.”**
Insecurity seems to loosen tongues and close ears.
A closed mind lies behind closed ears.
Poor listening is a character issue.
What’s one thing you could do that would make you a better listener?
I’m currently two thirds the way through The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam. It’s the story of Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots.
The book is a bit dated, published in 2006, but it’s really the story of a father’s influence.
Steve Belichick, football scout for Navy, had a huge influence on his son Bill.
Bill is often quoted as saying, “Do your job.”
Hard work was part of Bill’s life because his father worked hard, harder and longer than other football scouts. Bill’s dad reminds me of mine.
I was fortunate to be brought up on a dairy farm. Hard work is synonymous with life for dairy farmers.
My dad was the hardest working man I ever knew. He never preached about hard work. He simply did it and expected his children to live that way too. Frankly, we didn’t think there was any other way.
I don’t understand people who work so they don’t have to work.
We are made to work. Work gives meaning to life.
Success apart from hard work is shallow, degrading, and unfulfilling.
The work of leadership begins with modeling the way.*
#1. Do the work.
Get off your butt. You can’t lead from a chair. If you aren’t sure what to do. Do something and learn as you go.
Show the way. Don’t simply point the way.
#2. Support others while they work.
#3. Remove obstacles to successful work.
Make the work of others less frustrating and more productive. One corporate leader told me, “My main job is figuring out how to remove obstacles that slow my team.”
If you have position, you have authority to eliminate barriers and create connections.
Reading list for March:
What are you reading in March?
As a society, we can and are collecting data in many ways. The question is not how to get more data, but how to use it effectively?
By 2020, approximately 1.7 MB of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet.1 That is an incredible amount of data!
Yet, of all the data the world is creating both personally and professionally, less than 0.5 percent of it is ever analyzed and used.2 Analyzing less than 0.5 percent leaves a lot of opportunity on the table.
Not just volume, connection and integration
Clearly, as a society, we can and are collecting data in many ways. The question is not how to get more data, but how to use it effectively? In healthcare, how do we capture greater knowledge from the right data at the right time for truly actionable insights?
Many healthcare organizations have started down the road to digital transformation by capturing more data from various service lines with different technologies and systems. However, that information is often captured and used within silos, which limits the impact. The true transformational change occurs when we put all of the data together – i.e., integrate the data, analyze and then share those insights across the organization.
Rapid analysis, insights and action
Better integrating and connecting data is, however, only one part of the equation. Insights from big data days, weeks, months or even years later limit our ability to make corrections and find opportunities for improvements. Speed to insights from the data is critical.
Technically, the data must be made available and analyzed in time to affect decisions. For example, near real time information is typically important for clinical care decisions. Once the data, analysis and insights have been generated, the individual making the decision needs to make that information part of the workflow and the decision-making process.
The digitally enabled organization
The organization needs to build trust in and adopt these new insights as tools to assist making the best decisions for each patient at the right place at the right time. This requires making the organization a digitally enabled organization.
The digitally enabled organization leverages experience, expertise and the best data-driven insights to make the right decisions, and operate most efficiently. The digitally enabled organization is agile and is enabled by the right insights at the right time. The digitally enabled organization drives the expansion of precision medicine, transforms the delivery of care and improves the patient experience.
Witness firsthand how digital agility and the digitally enabled organization can improve patient care and engagement. For example, organizations can create data-driven solutions to patient leakage challenges and rise to their operational opportunities. The result is optimal utilization and enhanced patient experience.3
Into the future
Achieving a digitally enabled organization lays a strong foundation to adopt new tools, ways of working and driving continuous improvement. This shift also allows the organization to incorporate predictive approaches and other advanced analytics that may include artificial intelligence. A layer of trust in insights creates a powerful data-driven culture that is transformative.
EQ is often cited as the difference between winners and losers. Use these quotes to up your game.
As far as I know, my MBA program didn’t teach any classes in emotional intelligence. While I got a solid education, I can’t help but think that I might have been served better by taking a course or two in EQ. After all, study after study has shown that emotional intelligence is the different between a successful CEO and an also-ran.
Here are some of the best quotes to inspire you to become a more emotionally intelligent leader:
What’s your favorite quote about emotional intelligence that needs to be added to this list? What inspires you to develop your EQ further on an ongoing basis?
It’s no secret that most of us don’t get enough sleep and suffer for it. If you’re between the ages of 16 and 64, and don’t get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, your logical reasoning, executive function, attention, and mood can be impaired. Worse, severe sleep deprivation can lead to depression, anxiety, and symptoms of paranoia. In the long run, sleep deprivation is a main contributor to the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Surprisingly, one group that doesn’t need to heed these warnings is executives. In our assessment of 35,000 leaders and interviews with 250 more, we found that the more senior a person’s role is, the more sleep they get.
There are two possible explanations for this. Either senior executives, with the help of assistants and hard-working middle managers, do less and take more time for sleep. Or senior executives have had the wisdom and discipline throughout their career to get enough sleep and thereby maintain a high performance level without burning out.
Our conclusion is that the latter is the case. “Sleep has always been foundational for my performance,” Cees ’t Hart, president and CEO of Carlsberg Group, shared with us. “And especially to perform in a way that is required by my current job, I need seven hours of sleep, every night. Of course, with intense travel and work commitments, sometimes this is compromised, and when that happens, it comes with a cost. When I sleep less, I perform less.”
In contrast, our data found that 68% of nonexecutive leaders get five to seven hours of sleep per night. When there are not enough hours in the day, they steal some from the night. Many leaders stay up late to catch up on email or other tasks. According to our research, this tendency is widespread, regardless of gender.
This is a problem. For leaders, sleep is not a luxury. Research has found that there is a direct link between getting enough sleep and leading effectively and that sleep-deprived leaders are less inspiring.
It used to be a badge of honor to brag about sleeping few hours, but our research should serve as inspiration for aspiring leaders to make sleep sacrosanct. The key message: If you want to be an effective leader, and rise in the ranks, get enough sleep.
Of course, it’s one thing to make a commitment to go to bed early, and another to actually get seven or more hours of quality sleep. For many leaders, going to bed is only part of the problem. The other part is getting high-quality, restorative sleep.
Fortunately, a good night’s sleep is not a random event; it’s a trainable skill. Here are a few guidelines that will help you.