10. Listen Generously And With Patience.

Listening is more than simply “not speaking.” Be present and engaged. Give people your undivided attention by quieting the noise in your head, limiting distractions, and stopping the desire to multi-task. Truly appreciate other perspectives. Above all, listen to understand.

Marc's Message:


In September we held our annual National Accounts meeting.  Over 30 associates spent 1-1/2 days in meetings discussing various ways we could make even further strides in this important segment of our business.  One of the highlights of our time together was the sharing of best practices, including process improvement enhancements.

Toward the end of our session on day two, we went around the room and everyone had a chance to talk about their focus in order to provide superior customer service and / or operation excellence.

I am a firm believer that we all (including me) can learn from anyone, regardless of their age, role, title, or years of experience within the industry or at Famous.  That morning was no exception, as I heard great wisdom from the youngest person in the room.  The associate, Jaclyn Boyert, whose role is administrative assistant, was one of the first people to speak.

She very thoughtfully and eloquently described how she takes great pride in “listening patiently” when a customer or internal associate calls in with questions, concerns, or any other issue.  Jaclyn forces herself to really focus, by eliminating distractions, not multi-tasking, and not trying to think of a response while the person on the phone is talking.  She stays relaxed and truly tries to internalize the feedback.  This allows her to learn more as she lets the other person express themselves fully.  She does this by not interrupting.  The inevitable pauses provide additional opportunities for the callers to continue on and in even more detail.  Only after she has been fully engaged and has captured the essence of what is on the person’s mind, does she respond with clarifying and probing questions.  This process enables her to gather all pertinent information and make the proper responses.  By taking this patient approach, Jaclyn is not only more and best prepared to solve the caller’s issue, but I’m sure she does so in a way that leaves the other party feeling good and satisfied. Her approach shows that Famous has associates who care about them.

Jaclyn’s comments really made an impact on me that day, so much so that I wanted to share them with all of you, as this is a fundamental that has a huge impact on our performance. Studies show that the human brain is not designed to do multiple things at once ­ as good as we think we are at multi-tasking, we’re better when focused on one thing at a time. So let’s use this week to practice putting aside the phones/iPads in meetings and being totally engaged on the task at hand!

Have a great week.  Listen well, and listen patiently!