When first starting out in management, I had much to learn.  Coming from a military background where all those around you are highly trained, it is expected that orders are followed.  This is simply what happens in the military: to question orders is against regulations.  However, the system only works because everyone understands the orders and acts on them as expected. 

Outside of the military, life is very different.  For me this proved to be a steep learning curve as I adjusted from being in a highly structured environment to one where I had to make up the rules as we went along.  I was reporting directly to the CEO and part of a senior management team tasked with turning round a thirty year old public body that had lost sight of its customers.  We had a short window to achieve success before the customers lost sight of us and abolished the organisation.

Despite the pressure to act quickly and issue orders to make things happen, I was fortunate to learn not to be too hasty.  Better to understand a situation fully, than to immediately implement a plan to change it prematurely, as I discovered by listening to Dr Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” (click here)

This book is recognised as one of the most influential audiobooks ever recorded, according to Amazon, and was the first non-fiction audiobook to sell more than a million copies.  Habit Five is: “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood”. 

I was recently reminded of the wisdom of Dr Covey’s Habit Five when discussing business with a local entrepreneur.  This highly successful businessman had been putting the theory into practice for many years.  Although he had not heard the phrase previously, he instinctively recognised its importance. 

Yours remembering too that, for most of us, we are born with two ears and one mouth, 

H

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