30 September 2019

Lawrence Jones MBE on stage - spraking about business success, people development and leadershipAnswer honestly, how many times have you stopped someone mid-conversation because you knew what they were going to say?

It is something most of us are guilty of; I see it happening every single day.

You’re saving time, being efficient, stopping them repeating themselves, right? However, do you actually, really know what they are going to say?

No one can predict the future.

In stopping their conversation, you’re effectively showing them that what they’re saying isn’t of value. Pause for a moment and think about that.

In my experience, there is little worse than a business know-it-all.

These are the people who cut you off, whose response to any feedback is ‘I know’ and who are often heard saying ‘We’ve always done it this way’.

Do you know it all?

On a greater scale, it is these people who become the reason that a business stagnates and stops evolving. If you or your team close yourself off to new ideas or to even listening to what could potentially be a new idea, you’re massively limiting your potential. It is that simple.

You can learn something from every person who crosses your path. We all have unique life experiences and different skillsets, and we all have different businesses and teams.

There’s no doubt that I have been guilty of doing this, especially in the early days of my business life. However, I have spent the past 20 years or more listening. Seeking out the best people in whatever game it is they play. Speaking to everyone in every area of life to learn from them.

It is incredible what you can pick up from one short conversation. I remember a conversation with one of our apprentices. In it, he came up with a revolutionary idea that could generate tens of millions of pounds worth of revenue and make life so much easier for our customers. All from a quick chat.

I’m not saying it is easy. I catch myself doing it all the time, making assumptions of what someone is going to say before they’ve said it. Instead, really listen and ask questions. When you give someone the respect that they deserve and be open to the different approach that they have, you help them to feel valued and you learn so much more each day.

Are you guilty of being a know-it-all? How do you deal with a ‘business know-it-all’ at work? Let me know in the comments below.


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