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Leading the Listening Organisation | Meet the Author

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Leading the Listening Organisation | Meet the Author

Who’s Listening? An Evening With Howard, Mike and Kevin.

You guessed it! Last Thursday (2nd May) Internal Comms professionals in London reunited for another Meet the Author event, this time with co-authors of "Leading the Listening Organisation", Dr Kevin Ruck, Howard Krais and Mike Pounsford, and what a brilliant evening it was.

Leading The Listening Organisation, published in December 2023, provokes thought around the importance of fostering a listening culture in businesses (see IoIC), and highlights the potential consequences of senior leaders not truly recognising the power of communications and listening to employees.

So Tell Me, What Did I Miss?

Once all sat with a drink in hand, the authors introduced themselves and were soon to kick-start a discussion, asking the audience "what makes someone a good listener?". The words 'compassion', 'empathy' and 'openness' echoed around the room and the authors noted that such values often fall within the heart of internal communications teams. It was also noted that a 'you said, we did' campaign is not really reflective of true listening, and rather these values must be instilled also within senior leaders and decision makers.

After a chat Leading The Listening Organisation, attendees joined in for a case study activity based on a company merger and consequential poor staff retention rates. The aim of the task was to provoke thought around the importance of listening in such period of business change. From this, conversation evolved into the value of open communication; it’s vital that business leaders are equally as welcome to negative, as well as positive feedback, and also establishing a safe space for employees to be actually heard, and not just listened to.

A Safe Space Is Key!

"How do you create a safe space?", was the follow-on question, and frankly, there was no one simple answer. Whilst most agreed the C-Suite must be 'visible' and communicate with team managers, it was, rather ironically, hard to truly define what 'visible' looks like in practice. One participant mentioned the potential benefit of inviting external auditors to assist in 'listening', arguing it's a potential solution to alleviate concern amongst employees that ‘anonymised feedback’ is never truly anonymous.

Not That Can of Worms...

Finally, one of my favourite topics of the evening was around the seemingly shared ‘can of worms’! When chatting about encouraging leaders to listen to their employees, there was a resounding view that those business decision makers, those at the 'top table' try to avoid opening that 'can of worms' - in other words, avoid addressing a topic that they fear may bring some additional complexities or even negativity. At this point, there was a resounding agreement in the room. "It's about encouraging our leaders to open that can", explained one of the authors and, in my view, it seems it really is about communicating all feedback, (the good, the bad…and the ugly), and supporting leaders to reframe potential negative mindsets and work to address the unfiltered thoughts and feelings from employees.

Meet the Author with Kevin, Howard & Mike - Hanover Communications - Thursday 2nd May 2024

A Twist Coming Soon!

It was a really super evening for Internal Comms and Meet the Author - thank you again to Hanover Communications for hosting and to all those who joined us.

We are delighted to be hosting another Meet the Author event on Tuesday 14th May, but this time for Marketing Professionals! VMA GROUP's Senior Marketing & Digital Consultant, Gabriel Charles, will be welcoming Attul Seghal very soon, and I've no doubt it'll be another evening well spent.

Please spread the word within your Marketing and Comms teams - we hope to see more of you next week!


VMA GROUP is a leading international interim, contract, temporary and permanent recruitment and executive