Time to Listen
By Thomas Morrone, CFP®, CPA
Over the years I have retained the services of numerous businesses coaches and consulting firms to improve my personal and professional skills or to address some aspect of the day to day operations to improve overall efficiency in the office. Coaching firms and consultants will always be available enticing you to retain their services to help you, your firm, and your entire team to become better at something, whatever that something is. There is always room for improvement in what you do and how you do it regardless of how many times you perform a specific task or a series of tasks.
Professional athletes are perfect examples where the best of the best continue to and will always use coaches. Granted, I am in no way comparing myself to a professional athlete. The physical conditioning, endurance, and ability to execute under pressure for professional athletes has always been and will continue to be attributes that I respect and admire. Yet, no matter how well an athlete performs, they still have coaches, consultants, and trainers to keep them not only physically and mentally fit but also to help them execute to perfection. In some cases, very small changes can lead to dramatic differences in performance and results. In golf, a fraction of an inch difference in a single putt can be the difference between winning and losing a tournament. In basketball, the shot at the buzzer to win the game can bounce off the win or swish through the net. In baseball, a potential home run ball that was snagged for an out by the outfielder as he leaped that extra few inches to make the catch at the fence. Every sport will have an example of a subtle difference or change in the execution by the athlete or athletes that can result in an entirely different outcome.
We have implemented many changes and modifications to what I do both personally and professionally, how the team functions and operates and most importantly how we work diligently at elevating the level of service we provide to our clients. There is no one thing that we do to accomplish this but a culmination of little things. This process will be forever changing and hopefully improving as we will always strive to execute to perfection. In addition to working with coaching firms and consultants, another valuable resource is collaborating with other professionals. Regardless of what the source of the information, the most important attribute or skill set, in my opinion, is knowing when it is time to listen. Listening to clients and hearing what they have to say and how they say it can be that subtle difference in how we execute a financial plan and outline action steps for them. At times, asking the right probing questions to generate emotions and feelings is an art into itself. This is one more example of a subtle difference. The important point is, you can ask all the questions you want but you still need to recognize when it is time to listen.
The art of listening is not a new concept. Teachers, parents, employers, spouses, friends and just about anybody can get frustrated when whoever they are communicating with does not listen. We all have been on one side or the other in a not listening situation. Many times, it is not a matter of listening, it is a matter of choice or action by one of the parties. If you can communicate efficiently and effectively with anybody, someone must speak, and someone must listen.
I am listening!
Until the Next Tom’s Take………………………………