Listening for a Change: Review of Vol. V

The words of a trusted advisor and personal friend jumped to the front of my ever-busy mind as I combed through Volume V of The Art of Change.

It was one of those moments – we’ve all had these – when you’re wrapped in the layers of a weedy conversation and the other person says something so succinct, yet brilliant, a.k.a. right on the money, that it 1) sticks with you and 2) shifts your perspective moving forward. (Ironically, it’s probably a good indicator that they’ve been listening intently … but more about that later.)

“There’s a big difference between listening to understand and listening to prove you’re right,” she said.

It was a drop-the-mic kinda moment. She went on to explain the fundamental differences between the two, how it reflects the person’s underlying intentions and the manifestation of the differences (for full disclosure, she’s an expert in such matters).

As a former journalist professionally trained in the art of listening to understand and storytelling – this was before fake news ok, so back off – I was struck by her words. At the risk of sounding naive, such a difference had never really dawned on me. Once it did, however, I couldn’t “un-see” it in people. In other words, people’s ego – or lack of – in listening became strikingly obvious. It changed how, when and why I engaged with people, and to be honest, I found myself much less frustrated as to why some conversations, well, really weren’t conversations … and they were never going to be.

This little tidbit of knowledge, all made possible because my friend was actively listening, changed me … and for the better. It shifted my perspective as an advisor, a colleague and an all-around human being. It illustrates the power of listening and specifically, the power of listening to understand.

So as you go about transforming, innovating and improving healthcare, I challenge you to read this issue and ask yourself a powerful question: How can listening to understand be a powerful and foundational element to the Art of Change?

Read all of Vol. V: Listening & Storytelling, here.
About the Author /

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A founding partner of Jarrard Inc. and its chief innovation officer, Molly Cate is responsible for opening new markets and service lines for the firm. Cate is also the national lead for the firm’s health services practice. Cate is a seasoned communications counselor with high-level experience in thought leadership, strategic positioning, change management, media relations, crisis and issue management and strategic partnership communications for healthcare organizations across the United States.