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What Happens When you Listen

ListeningA

lot has been written about the power of listening to customers. There is no doubt that listening to and developing a strong relationship with your customers is critical to business success. But I’ve learned thatit’s equally important to listen to your employees.

Recently, I sat down with dozens of our employees one on one. I’m working my way through conversations with every employee, to better understand what their passions are and help them set goals. What I found out truly amazed me.

First, I got a clear picture of just how talented our people are and how they all share a thirst to do
something great. Secondly, they also want to develop their knowledge and improve their skills.My employees shared with me what’s important to them personally, and it really opened my eyes.

I’ve spent most of my professional life in sales roles, cultivating relationships with customers and prospects. It’s a part of my job that I love, and I’ve been lucky to build great friendships through it. What happens when you like the people you work with? We all know the answer: what you do together doesn’t seem like work.

It took me a long time to fully realize that the most important relationship to start with in customer success is with your own people. Every good relationship starts with listening and understanding. There is no shortcut to understanding your people on a personal level; you have to take the time to talk with them.

Until I had these conversations with our employees, I didn’t really know what was important to them. To be sure, as managers we were aware of what they like about working at INXPO and when they were having challenges in their work. But beyond that, we really didn’t know what each individual’s true passions and plans were. We didn’t have a clear idea of how best to match the diverse talents and interests of our people with the roles and functions that are necessary in our business and that will help our people reach their personal goals. Taking the time to get to know them better as people provided an entirely new perspective that I am 100% sure is going to help us build and grow a more successful company.

At INXPO, we like to say that our technology platforms help make our clients’ organizations smaller. Not literally smaller, but connected through communication in a way that smaller groups are, so that everyone knows what’s going on.

CEO after CEO has told me they wished they could maintain a level of connectedness as their companies grew. Let’s face it: when you have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of employees around the world, it’s really hard for senior management to know all their people, let alone keep them all engaged. If you can’t engage your people and get them all on the same page, it’s impossible to sustain a successful business long-term.

If you want to be more successful in connecting with customers, you must first connect with your employees. If you want more engaged customers, work on engaging your team. Ask what’s important to them, then listen to understand. If you do that, you’ll be in a much better position to take your organization from good to great.

I want to hear what’s important in your organization. Please add your comments. I’m listening.

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