I was sitting in a meeting today where a leader was selling her point of view.
She had a product that was better for customers and better for the team in the sales channel. Yet, even with the benefits, adoption was low.
I listened to her say “I don’t understand” over and over in describing this situation. “I don’t understand why we aren’t making our numbers. I don’t understand why we can’t get this product to customers. What am I missing?”
Unfortunately, she didn’t hear the answer.
If you find yourself in this place, set aside your frustration, stop, and listen.
If no one around you is sharing the answer with you, you may have to convince them that you really want to know, that it’s safe to share the answer with you, that you’ll listen to what they’ll share. You might have to prompt them. “Is there something I haven’t thought of?” “Is there something about my approach that’s causing me to misunderstand?” “Is it maybe the thing I’m most worried about?”
But, for most people who find themselves here, asking this question: people are sharing the answer with you. Perhaps they’re saying things that you’re dismissing out of hand. Or they’re dwelling on some piece of the story that you don’t think is important.
It can be tough to hear someone else’s story when you’ve already settled on yours.
So it’s up to you whether you listen or not, whether you have the humility to push beyond your lack of understanding to a real insight, to a true opportunity.
The choice is yours.