Two Ears and One Mouth: How Some Simple Wisdom Can Improve Your Business

God gave you two ears and one mouth so you can listen twice as much as you talk.

If you were a talker growing up, I’ll bet your parents or teachers told you something like this at least once. I may or may not have heard it much more than that!

Turns out that’s really good advice, even when you’re all grown up, as my good friend Cory Warfield explained on this episode of The Combustion Chronicles. Cory has a pretty full resume: tech company founder, business consultant, LinkedIn influencer, podcast host, and more. Being successful in all those areas takes a lot of different talents, and one of the most important is listening.

Cory started his first business after years of working as a server and bartender in high-end restaurants. He knew from personal experience what a mess scheduling is in restaurants and how servers often don’t know when they’ll be working and how much they can expect to make. He developed scheduling software called ShedWool to fix this problem.

Servers and front-line managers loved it, but people in the C-suite didn’t get it. Why? Because most of them had never actually worked in a restaurant and therefore didn’t understand what the problem was. Cory tried without much luck to explain it … and then he shut up and started listening. As he told me on the podcast, “Once I stopped talking about the problem and started listening to other people and their problems and ways that maybe having a more predicable schedule for their workforce can help them, that was kind of my aha moment.”

That totally aligns with what we do at MOFI. For us, everything starts with empathy. When we work with a client to improve their Experience Ecosystem™, we start by listening to everybody in the organization from the CEO to the frontline workers. Instead of assuming we know what their problem is, we ask open-ended questions. What are their fears and frustrations? What are their hopes and dreams? What keeps them awake at night, and what brings them joy?

It can be hard to ask questions like those and then just shut up and listen. But it’s worth the effort. I totally agree with something else Cory said on the podcast, “The innovative companies that I see starting to take market share, starting to disrupt their industries, are the ones where the leaders actually go through some type of coaching or mindset transformation by which they can actually learn how to shut the heck up.”

Some people might think it’s strange to get coaching on how to listen. I think it’s strange not to take advantage of something that will help you serve your customers and employees better.

How are your listening skills? Are you listening to your people, your customers, your competitors, and your industry? Or do you need your mom to remind you why you have two ears and only one mouth?

Takeaway: The smartest people in the room aren’t the people who think they know all the answers. They’re the people who know they don’t. To succeed in business, you have to ask lots of questions, then sit back and listen to the answers.

As an experience evangelist, Shawn Nason (founder and CEO of MOFI) partners with human-obsessed and maverick-minded people and organizations to rethink their Experience Ecosystems™. Click here to learn more.

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