Bill Russell, the only NBA player to ever win 11 championships in 13 years, has spent the past few decades as an author and motivational speaker. In his 2001 book "Russell Rules - 11 Lessons on Leadership from the Twentieth Century's Greatest Winner," he shares his ideas about the importance of listening.
Bill Russell believes that listening is a necessary part of winning - a necessary part of succeeding in business.
Listening is not the same as hearing, Russell tells us. Listening includes respecting the ideas and feelings of the person who is talking. Listening involves hearing the other person's words, and understanding the other person's intentions.
When listening, Russell advises, we have to push our own views into the background. It's important to concentrate and try to understand what the other person is saying. We'll have lots of time to analyze what they're saying after we've heard it. But we have to abandon our own agendas for a few minutes and listen to the other person if we ever expect to understand the other person's feelings and ideas.
In the software development industry, we have opportunities to hear valuable information about the direction that the industry is taking. eCommerce providers, download sites, and other industry vendors are giving us signals about the new products and services that they're introducing, as well as insights into the activities that they're walking away from.
Most importantly, our customers and prospects are telling us how they feel about our company and our products. We just need to make the effort to listen carefully to what they're saying.