Lead thy Web Design Project by the Art of Disciplined Listening

Lead thy Web Design Project by the Art of Disciplined Listening

Incorporating active-listening participation of others is an essential part of finding business success.

Listening well, (listening aren’t you:) )…Isn’t a skill that we’re born with (o shucks!); and we must develop it in order to master it. Accomplishing any task, yes, it also includes your web design project begins with the willingness to recognize value in every conversation you engage in.

Ram Charan, a well-respected and noted business author and advisor shares that – truly empathetic listening actually requires courage and the willingness to let go of the old habits. Acquiring these disciplined listening habits, can form a huge difference between a successful business project and a tumultuous failure.

It is well acknowledged that web project leaders can, despite their fast-paced business environment and time-starved schedule can master the art of disciplined listening.


Conventional advice for better listening is to inculcate active behaviours such as of focus, attention to detail, and being immersed in the speaker’s intention and perspective. However, truly good listening skills required far more than that. Charan specifies to consider the following tips toward a truly empathetic listening approach.

Pay Attention to the Nuggets

The Cue

Larry Bossidy, former CEO of Honeywell, did this. While sitting to discuss a $300 million dollar deal with a business unit leader, he divided his sheet of paper into three-quarters across. On the larger left side of the paper, he scribbled detailed notes; on the smaller right side, he jotted two-or-three words, capturing what he perceived to be key insights and issues being bought to his attention.

The Web Project Angle

The above is a simple technique that can be used by web project managers to discipline them to listen intently on the important takeaways of the design project; and enable to focus on follow-up questions on points that really matter to the web business owner or even the graphics or development team. By sifting for the nuggets, the manager can also assure the opposite person that he/she was understood by probing, clarifying, or further shaping those thoughts.

The Benefits

    • As a web manager you are sure that you heard it right the first place.


    • The person on the other end will be gratified that you have truly grasped the essence of their thoughts and ideas


    • This listening can open doors to ‘truly connecting’ and is the gateway to building relationships and reputation.


Consider the Source

The Cue

Ivan Seidenberg, Chairman and CEO of Verizon earlier in his career, as manager of a business unit recognized that he must cut costs. But, given the tremendous complexity of his divisions operations, the department was adamant of any change. Seidenberg understood their frame of reference, got the support of the product department (whose collaboration was required), and found much better solutions, leading to costs cut, and simplified operations.

The Web Project Angle

When working with peers, in and across teams, work to understand each person’s frame of reference where is it coming from and what can be the background whether it’s a design issue, a developmental roadblock or a usability issue. This is particularly important when disagreements within the project arise.

The Benefits

    • When you truly understand other’s perspective, you are more likely to reach productive solutions.


    • All participants feel heard (ahh gratifying….), even if their solution is adopted or not.


    • You’d be happy to discover an altogether new approach that got crafted in this conversational environment.


Takeaway: Active listening and probing (with humility, not aggression) energizes groups, encourages them to reach consensus, and helps them arrive at new and better solutions.

Keep Yourself Honest

The Cue

In 2010, General Electric long considered the preeminent company for producing leaders redefined what it seeks in its leaders. Now it places “listening” among the most desirable traits in potential leaders and GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt cuts a figure on same.

The Web Project Angle

No habit is broken without discipline, feedback, and practice. Make a habit of asking yourself after interactions with project peers, subordinates, and managers – whether you understood the essence of what was said to you, the person’s point of view, their context, and their emotion. Also ask yourself whether that person knows that they were heard and understood. By explicitly lay out an exercise regime by which you will practice empathetic listening every day and strengthen your skills.


  • Your ability to understand the true spirit of a message as it is intended to be communicated, and demonstrate your understanding, will help forming connections and leading effectively.

At its core, listening is connecting, and is among one of the top four desirable characteristics in potential leaders.

Source: HBR Blog Network: The Discipline of Listening by Ram Charan