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March 28, 2006

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Allison Shields

Dina-

An excellent point. So much can be said about effective listening. There has to be a plan of action - a way to respond.

I know lots of firms that are afraid to seek feedback or input because they are afraid of the 'inappropriate' or unrealistic feedback. They forget that sometimes these are good opportunities to educate others about the firm's vision and objectives. Listening and taking feedback and suggestions to heart doesn't mean the firm is required to follow every suggestion - it just means that they need to respond appropriately - which can mean thanking someone for their feedback and explaining why their idea can't be implemented.

Thanks for your comment!

Dina Beach Lynch, Esq.

Right you are, Allison. Listening is a much underrated tool for creating or maintaining an employee-friendly culture. However, most firms fail to listen properly.

Listening without a plan for action is ineffective. Most employees want to know that if they take the time, effort and risk to offer feedback on firm matters that someone will actually act upon their suggestions.

Failing to design and communicate the action plan for feedback to employees is a sure way to build mistrust. I’ve seen many instances in my work as an Ombuds where good intentions were thwarted by inaction. Employees became skeptical and thought of any effort as ‘lip service’.

So to those firms that pride themselves on having an ‘open door policy’ to listen to employee concerns and interests I have one simple question: what happened next?

If the answer is nothing much, you’re creating a culture, but not the one you intended.

Dina Beach Lynch, Ombuds
http://www.workwelltogether.com

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