Listening as a Path to Comprehending


[via McKinsey Quarterly, hat tip Om Malik]

Biotech Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer describes the epiphany that made him a better listener and explains why listening is a survival skill for leaders and organizations. What he says about past behavior:

My conversations were all about some concept of intellectual winning and “I’m going to prove I’m smarter than you.” It wasn’t an evil, megalomania-driven thing; it was mostly because I was a striver, I wanted to get ahead, and getting ahead meant convincing people of my point of view.

And what he learned from Sam Palmisano (CEO, IBM) on why his experience working in Japan was so important to his leadership development:

“I learned to listen by having only one objective: comprehension."

Listening as a path to comprehending. That's OS thinking to motivate doing in a more appropriate way.

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George B. Rathmann, 84, who was the first Chief Excutive at Amgen, just died.

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