Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke

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Open Your Mind - By Closing Your Eyes

On a recent return flight from a business trip, I sat next to a wise man. Let’s call him Howard. Well, that was his name, Howard. He is a retired corporate executive and a negotiation expert. During the blizzard of our conversation, one of the topics we addressed was negotiation best practices. In this regard, Howard shared several stories with me. The sentiment of one of them is encapsulated below.


We have all heard that when one of our senses is injured or compromised, the others rise to the occasion and become stronger. While at dinner one night with a colleague, Howard noticed that with eat bite of delicious food, his friend would close his eyes and savor the collage of flavors. Howard asked him what he was doing. His friend’s immediate reply, with eyes still closed, was that he wanted to focus all of his attention on what he was doing – what he was enjoying. Howard embraced the habit and not only began closing his eyes while consuming tasty meals, but he expanded the technique’s use. For instance, during important conversations and critical negotiations, Howard would inform others that he was closing his eyes so that he could focus, and hear, and taste their message. One can only imagine the unusual facial expressions that Howard’s technique must have caused. He wouldn’t know, his eyes were closed – and his mind was open. He must have done something (many things) right, because he was and is one heck of a successful guy. If you ever meet him, you will like him. Here is my point: In this sometimes crazy, fast-paced world, develop listening modalities that work for you. If we were all to stop rushing, and texting, and stressing for a moment we would realize that people have amazing things to say. Listen. And open your mind.        

Posted by Doug Van Dyke on 2010-06-21 at 06:43 AM
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