Look & don't listen – Ed Chan 

Look & don't listen – Ed Chan 

We have always been told to “listen”, however I am going to tell you that in certain circumstances it’s best not to.

by Ed Chan – Founder & Non Executive Chairman Chan & Naylor Accountants 

As a Manager have you ever been told by a customer or a staff member about something and you made a management decision based on what you have been told and it was not correct? It was not exactly a lie but it was highly exaggerated or presented out of context or the timing was unfortunate.
As a Manager/Leader of my business I have been in this situation many times.
Sometimes staff or customers don’t always tell you the exact truth. They don’t deliberately lie. They just stretch the truth a little to “protect their turf” so to speak. There is always a little bit of posturing and gamesmanship to try to make themselves look good in your eyes. It’s just a natural protection mechanism. Example.
“I am very busy (so therefore I am very valuable or I am worth more money), “I am so busy (so please don’t give me any more work).
“Other people have given me work to do (and I could not get your work done).
“I left a message and no one called me back, (when in fact we called back and a message was left with their daughter and she forgot to pass the message across).
“Your staff were rude to me, (when he confused our staff with speaking to another company).
“No one ever told me that, (when in fact it was in the newsletters and the direct mail out and staff confirmed discussing it with them verbally at their last meeting. They just were either not paying attention or plain forgot).
I have learnt a very valuable management technique called: “look and don’t listen”, meaning “find out the facts”, “go to the source”. Example:
Staff: “we have had clients complaining”.
Manager: (Look & don’t listen. Find out facts) “how many clients have complained?”
Staff: “Mrs Smith complained”.
Manager: So one out of 100 clients complained.
Do not change the whole system for the 99 just because one complained. Find out the exact reason for this one complaint:
Staff: “I am so busy”.
Manager: (look and don’t listen. Find out facts) ” what are you actually doing?”
Staff: “I have to get “receipts for expenses, I have to reconcile the petty cash till and I have to do the cash flow projection. I have to reconcile what Jim did last year”
Manager: “Don’t worry about the receipt, its under $10. Don’t worry about reconciling what Jim did last year. It’s not important. Petty cash can be done next week. Get the cash flow projection done first”
Staff: “Other staff are giving me things to do which takes up my time”.
Manager: (look & don’t listen) ” What actual things have they given you to do?”
Staff: “Peter asked me to ‘Raise an invoice’ to a customer”.
Manager:  “Raise an invoice to a customer is part of what your job tasks and not an extra task Peter has asked you to do. Don’t confuse that with an extra task that Peter asked you to do.
The many decisions you make daily/weekly/monthly will shape your business or life. Where you end up in life will be as a consequence of the aggregation of these decisions. Make sure you are making good decisions because as a Manager/Leader these decisions will affect everyone around you. The “Look & Don’t Listen” Management Technique has been one of the most valuable tools I have used and helped me properly assess the situation and then make sensible management decisions. Hope you find it useful also.
Poor management causes so much damage to everyone. Damage to customers. Damage to staff. Damage to Shareholders. Ensure you improve your management skills so you can bring success to all around you.
General Advice Disclaimer:
This article contains general information. Before you make any financial or investment decision you should seek professional advice to take into account your individual objectives, financial situation and individual needs.

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