Jan 3, 2011

Listening Tour

Successful leaders know that it’s critical to tune in to what’s most important to their stakeholders.   Listening is a great way to do that.  Especially if you’re the newest member of the leadership team, going on a listening tour can be a valuable way to build relationships and determine your priorities.   In planning your listening tour, identify your stakeholders and develop a list of questions to ask each of them in conversation. Building your conversation around some questions will enable you to compare what you hear and to identify your initial priorities.

  • What are the key outcomes that will make this year successful for you and your team?
  • What kind of support would you like to see from me and my team to support your success?
  • What is working well that my team should keep doing?
  • What would you like to see my team start or stop doing to be more effective?
  • If you were to look out 12 to 24 months from now and envision my team as completely successful,  what would you see in terms of results and the mindsets and behaviors that drive results?
  • What advice do you have for me in my new role?

What do you next?  Here are some road tested suggestions:
1.        Organize your thoughts and come up with your short- and long-term priorities.
2.        Share what you’ve learned with your team and get them engaged in creating and following through on an action plan.
3.        Circle back with the rest of your stakeholders to let them know what you’ve learned and how you’ll be following up.
4.        Stay connected with your team and your stakeholders to ensure that the priorities are addressed and that everyone is aware of the progress and what they can do to help.

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.  When you’re the leader the best way to make progress on the things that matter most is to listen more and talk less.  Going on a listening tour is a great way to get started.



  1. If only more people were interesting -- listening would be more commonplace.

  2. I have worked for many people in my life. I have been the peon and the boss. I have always had a boss even when it was my business, the bosss was the customer.

    But when I had management above, the good ones (about 3 in 50yrs) knew the standard you stated, two ears and one mouth.

    My advice to any (new)leader is never say, "Where I came from we did it 'this way'."

    Changeing present (bad) policy and procedures can only be done effectively when the 'crew' respects the leader.

    Take care up there!

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog.Friendship spread up a thousand years!

  4. This makes great relationship advice as well. I am reading 'Working Together: Why Great Partnerships Succeed', and I wonder why more people to see how success in business as well as success in sports can have traits analogous to success in relationships.

  5. I'm a pretty god listener, but I could do much better. Good food for thought Ken.


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