Are you listening?

As a mom of two I feel like I ask this question often: “Are you listening?”

It’s so easy for my boys to get distracted or frankly fort hem to ignore me completely. I simply want them to do what I asked the first time so I can keep moving forward. Ever feel that way?

When I am parenting well, I know that if I want them to listen to me, I must listen to them first. When I do, I learn what they are thinking, how they are feeling, what’s impacting them in this season, their worries, and assumptions. All of that makes me a better parent and able to respond more efficiently.

In the nonprofit world, we are trained to focus on the mission, develop the message, and go deep into the work. Before we know it, we are in the trenches and it’s hard to look up much less listen.

Over the past month, I have conducted assessments for several nonprofits that are going through a transition or planning for the future. Those are critical times to listen.

We have been able to affirm assumptions and validate strengths, but more importantly share views that were unknown, express concerns that were not rising to the top, and identify untapped opportunities. Now informed decisions can be made.

Are you listening?

Or are you too busy? When should you be listening so that you can make informed decisions?

Who are you listening to? Who are your key stakeholders? Who has a stake in your mission? Are you listening to diverse voices?

How are you listening? Are you just checking a box? Or are you applying what you learned?

So many questions that now I am even tired thinking about it(or that could be the two boys). Regardless, I challenge you to reflect on how you are or should be listening at work and home. You never know what you might hear.

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