Listening between the lines
At MB Piland, we know that listening is a critical ingredient in great account leadership. We also know it's a skill that's intentionally developed. We ask lots of questions, listen between the lines, then ask again to be sure we've asked the right questions.
We also find that asking questions of all the right people is important. Clients, of course—but customers, referral sources, distributors, bloggers—and others will also tell us a lot if we just pay attention and listen.
We always place a lot of emphasis on internal audiences. They're highly important and often overlooked. Employees, strategic partners, volunteers and others on the inside know a lot, and are glad to share if we ask. Now we have a much more accurate view of what's really going on "out there."
It's the highest praise when a client says "How did you know that's exactly what I wanted? I didn't even know." That means we're doing our job. Today's Harvard Business Review features an article by John Baldoni on asking better questions. It's a worthwhile read.