When Bob Pittman, chief executive of Clear Channel Communications, is presented with an idea, he will often ask his employees what those who disagree with the idea will say.
“The first time you do that, somebody might say, ‘Well, everybody’s on board.’ Then I’ll say, ‘Well, you guys aren’t listening very well, because there’s always another point of view somewhere and you need to go back and find out what the dissenting point of view is,'” Pittman tells Adam Bryant at The New York Times. “I don’t want to hear someone say after we do something, ‘Oh, we should have done this.’ “
Pittman says that to really sell your idea, you need to be able to listen carefully to what everyone has to say and take everyone’s opinions into consideration. Especially those who are, or will be, opposed to your way of doing things. If you don’t do this, you may just be wasting time in the long run since someone can speak up later and present another way of doing things.
“I want us to listen to these dissenters because they may intend to tell you why we can’t do something, but if you listen hard, what they’re really telling you is what you must do to get something done,” he says. “It gets you out of your framework of the conventions of what you can and can’t do.”
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