I notice that I’ve picked up a great trait from the people I’ve worked with. I’m good at listening to what people are saying. … That’s not always true, I’m a strong proponent of trying to understand what people are actually trying to say. I found out today that is a habit taught by Steve Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – restating what you are actually hearing.
This is very important in your customer discovery process. Potential customers will pitch you ideas that they think will solve their problems. But you need to understand their problem before you try to solve it. Their solution is biased and hearing their proposed solution is biased. The benefit is, the customer gets to feel heard, and you get buy in when you re-state the issue.
Next time somebody pitches a feature to you, try to narrow down the problem that they are experiencing. If they’re tracking something, can communication help? If an employee does something incorrectly, does he/she know it was incorrect, does he/she know the consequences to the business or other employees. If a software is cumbersome to use, is it because you added too many requirements to it?
“I’m hearing that [simplified root problem here], I hypothesize that IF [research or simple solution] THEN the problem will be reduced”
*I like scientific “if then” statements too.
If you have employees that do this, they’re going to be invaluable, they will help teams talk, and they’re likely to be able to heard the consensus of management and other employees – all phrased into simplified issues.