A Fine Line – Be Nimble, Be Quick… and Listen 

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“Pay attention and don’t believe everything you hear. Speak 20% and listen 80%, we have two ears and one mouth for a reason. If you’re the smartest person in the room, find another room.” 

Treasure wisdom and choose your mentors carefully. 

Success at business and life depend on it. 

Competition Bias involves favoring information that confirms our previously existing beliefs or biases. By 

rejecting information that appear counter to what is previously heard or believed we can find ourselves in the embarrassing position of simply being wrong. Validate new information but also be sure the 

information we believe to be true, because we would like it to be true, actually is. 

A competitive motivator forces you to always be aware of what’s going on around you in your industry and business environment. In your community and perhaps the world. 

Competition is good but it can be fatal to those who are not paying attention. It’s likely there is someone out there who is working harder and smarter than you and me. Perhaps not but the odds are against us. 

Today’s internet and social media changes the way we have to think about security and company confidentiality. If we want to create and maintain a competitive advantage it is also necessary to guard those creations. Carelessness with passwords causes the loss of private information at an incredible daily rate. 

We’ve long passed the time of having to concern ourselves with the business next door or just around the corner for fear of losing customers to them. No, today we could lose business to someone on the other side of the planet. Goals for our business are not to be the best, but to be better than we are. 

Quality of product or service is extremely important. And even when the quality is superior competition will convince us we should be better than that. The failure virus is always seeking an opportunity to infect our operation. Understanding the sources of that virus and where we might be exposed can’t be understated. The nimble, quick and listening aspect of running a business is more important than ever, gaining in sophistication and availability every hour of the day. The world never sleeps, unlike the neighborhood business down the street. 

To be nimble and quick is a demanding, high-energy necessity. True appreciation for the meanings of nimble and quick as they relate to business operations and leadership requires consideration of numerous aspects of what is happening and realizing things change rapidly. Looking back at original assumptions in the creation of a business more than just a few years old is a look at plans that simply will not work in the present day. Even new plans made today will likely be out of date a few years from now. Be ready and willing to change when time and circumstances demand it. 

Listening may be the most difficult. Sure, we hear many things – but hearing is not listening. Listening is to be actively engaged; hearing only gets a participation ribbon. 

Life and business are exciting, adrenalin filled opportunities to add value to our time spent on earth. Learn at every turn. Listen. Always listen. Even a small child has experienced things we haven’t. 


Greg Henderson is the retired founder of the Southern Oregon Business Journal. A University of Oregon graduate and a six year U.S. Air Force veteran. Contact him at ghenderson703@gmail.com

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