Mind is like parachute–it works only when it is open. Some of the best business ideas come from listening to others.
Kautilya emphasis on this point for various leaders, “He should despise none, (but) should listen to the opinion of every one. A wise man should make use of the sensible words of even a child” (1.15.22)
A father was once watching his daughter playing. She went to her mother and asked, “Mummy when will I get my new doll?” She answered, “It will take a few days as we will have to go to the shop which requires at least two hours of traveling”.
Her father, who was thinking of a new business venture, understood the lack of a toy shop in the place they were staying. After doing a little bit of market research, he understood that, like them, all the parents residing in the area had to travel a long way to buy a toy for their children. He started a local toy shop and turned out to be a successful businessman.
One never knows where the next biggest idea would come from. The art of effective listening is very important in business. Even the most unexpected person could give you the key information and direction that one must have been waiting for years.
The following are some keys of effective listening.
Cutting off a person while he is talking is not just an insult to him, but will also end the possibilities of understanding the central message he is trying to convey.
One should be able to listen to every one without any preconceived notions. Politicians use this as their most effective tool to gather information at both, the top and the grassroot level. At one moment, they could be listening to the investment proposal of business tycoons while, the next moment they would listening be the complaints of a local resident. Taking the total picture into consideration, they plan their next move.
Even a child’s view point is to be considered, as Kautilya said.
At times, while listening to the opinion of others, it is tempting to say “Oh, I already know that–I know it will not work.” However, one should know how to control oneself. Cutting off a person while he is talking is not just an insult to him, but will also end the possibilities of understanding the central message he is trying to convey.
Peter Drucker, father of modern management pointed out, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t been said.”
You may have the best of ideas but what is the use if you do not benefit from those ideas. Information is useless, unless it is applied for an effective purpose. Hence, we need to experiment with what ever we have understood. Successful businessmen are not the ones who just sit around only thinking. They are men of dynamic action who are ready to take calculated risks and give their best to make an idea and plan work.
If you do not use your ideas, someone else surely will!
Dr Radhakrishnan Pillai is an Indian management thinker, author, and Founder of Atma Darshan and Chanakya Aanvikshiki. Dr Pillai has extensively researched Kautilya’s Arthashastra, the 3rd century BC treatise and incorporated it into modern management.