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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why listening is a survival skill for executives

An excellent interview with Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer, who recalls the events that inspired him to become a better listener has been posted on McKinsey Quarterly website http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Why_Im_a_listener_Amgen_CEO_Kevin_Sharer_2956
I found it very useful and highly recommend it to everyone:


Quote:
"For most of my career, I was an awful listener in almost every possible way. I was arrogant throughout my 30s for sure—maybe into my early 40s. My conversations were all about some concept of intellectual winning and “I’m going to prove I’m smarter than you.” It wasn’t an evil, megalomania-driven thing; it was mostly because I was a striver, I wanted to get ahead, and getting ahead meant convincing people of my point of view.
The best advice I ever heard about listening—advice that significantly changed my own approach—came from Sam Palmisano,1 when he was talking to our leadership team. Someone asked him why his experience working in Japan was so important to his leadership development, and he said, “Because I learned to listen.” And I thought, “That’s pretty amazing.” He also said, “I learned to listen by having only one objective: comprehension. I was only trying to understand what the person was trying to convey to me. "


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