2019-10-07 Issue 117 – Fundamental Behavior 15 – Listen to understand
How many times have we told our children, “It would be a lot easier if you would just learn to listen?”
I remember a children’s book by Howard Binkow titled, Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen. Howard was a rabbit, and he was always getting injured at school because he “just wouldn’t listen.” The teacher told him to quit jumping around, but he didn’t listen. Howard’s rabbit ears got caught in the ceiling fan, and his fellow students tried to warn him about a tripping hazard on the floor, but he didn’t listen and he fell. Finally, he was being coached on how to catch a baseball, but he did not listen there as well. Needless to say, Howard received a black eye.
Many times, adults are the same way. Taking safety as an example, we train on many safety topics and these topics are designed to keep our employees safe. As we age, it seems harder to sit in a classroom and “listen to understand,” but this a skill that needs to improve as we age, not the other way around.
Listening to understand is more than speaking and listening. Our equipment operators are great at listening to their machinery. They know when it just doesn’t sound right. This is an excellent example of this Fundamental Behavior.
Howard B. Wigglebottom became a great listener because he was tired of being injured by not following instructions. We can learn from Howard and become better listeners too.
Director of Safety
YKK Corporation of America