A famous Greek philosopher, Epictetus, is reputed to have said: "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." This is still great advice, 2200 years later. I know I need to practice this at home with my kids!
It's also a core skill in leading a business, and in understanding customers' needs. Right now, here at Hussey Seating we are undergoing an extensive listening tour around our campus, soliciting ideas from our employees on opportunities for improvements. In the last two weeks, we have received 350 ideas! And most importantly, we have dialogue going on where management is doing more work with their ears than their mouths.
We work hard to do this with customers as well. Our Dealer Council is a valuable source of input for us, and we listen very carefully. This week we held a video-conference call (video is good, it uses the eyes as well as the ears!) to listen to our Council's feedback on a wide variety of initiatives we have been working on. We listened well and learned a lot.
We listen in other formal ways, such as our Architect Advisory Council, and in many informal ways. This week we had a Hussey team fly out to an important customer who is planning a seating replacement. We went out primarily to listen and understand their needs, before we present any proposals. My hope and expectation is that this is the norm for any Hussey salesperson or customer service staff.
Enough typing, time for me to go listen what's going on here!