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Sage advice from a County Council Chief Executive

Michael Lonnon
03 Oct, 2022

It’s something very simple…

But without it… Your ability to gather insight and truly understand what your customers think becomes a lot harder. “You have two ears and one mouth, so use them in that proportion.” Simple, right? And yet it makes complete sense. If you’re too busy talking you’re not listening. It then becomes a one-way conversation. A one-way interaction where you will learn very little.

It’s the advice Swindon County Council Chief Executive, Susie Kemp, lives by. Advice given more than thirty years ago but which she uses to steer her leadership. It enables Susie to uncover the challenges dogging her team’s ability to support people in the council. Susie is a remarkable individual. One you can’t fail to learn a thing or two from. As I did when I interviewed her recently for the HSO Dynamics Matters podcast series. And I highly recommend spending just 13-minutes listening to our chat.

When it comes to listening, it’s something we could all be a little better at. In a recent Dashboard in a Day session, I surveyed the participants asking each whether they felt they were getting value from Power BI. The result was startling… Just 29% felt they were. Given its ubiquitous nature, I would assume more people would be getting value from Power BI than weren’t. By listening, we can now look at ways to help organisations increase their value from it.

Last week we were fortunate enough to host Lisa Brooke-Taylor and her Local Government & Housing team from Microsoft to the HSO Reading office. It was an opportunity to listen. And share. To find out more about the challenges impacting councils and housing organisations. And then discuss ways in which Microsoft solutions – together with the right partner – can help.

Bottom line is:

The more time you spend listening – understanding customer needs – the more useful it is for the organisation and the more helpful it is to you for implementing better solutions.

So, if you’ve got the opportunity to spend time with a customer… I would thoroughly advise you make a conscious effort to listen more. Because as Susie says:

“Great leaders sometimes hear it and sometimes don’t, and I think you’re a happier leader if you’ve listened to feedback.”

So, let’s lead.

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