Do Not Talk – a leadership secret

March 18, 2018

The Daily Stoic Quote

Zeno would also say that nothing is more hostile to a firm grasp on knowledge than self-deception.

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Eminent Philosophers, 7.23


How does our arrogance preventing us from learning? From leading?

It may not necessarily be getting in the way of you learning anything today, that you are aware of!

You may not actually believe it is getting in the way.

If it is, you may not know it.

Isn’t that the problem?

We don’t know, what we don’t know.


Do Not Talk

I listened to a great Podcast on the Tim Ferris Show and the interviewee was Bob Metcalfe. Bob told a story of Bill Krause, who was the adult supervision brought in to run 3Com, the Company Bob had founded.

Every time they were in a meeting together, Bob noticed that Bill appeared to be taking copious amounts of notes. When Bob saw his notebook, he noticed that Bill had simply wrote DNT over and over again.

When he eventually queried Bill on what it meant, the response was that DNT meant Do Not Talk. It was Bill’s way of suppressing his ego so that others on his management team might share their good ideas.

We all need our own version of DNT, don’t we? I know I do!

At times, not listening has gotten me into trouble.

I have been working very hard on my listening skills and forcefully attempting to DNT myself.

At times, taking notes like Bill is actually my own way to do that. While others may think I am taking the notes for eventual reference, in fact, I almost never look back at my notes.

My ego, when younger, got me into trouble at work, many times. I wasn’t always able to articulate why I wanted certain things and, for sure, part of it was ego.

As I got older and my self-confidence increased, I was able to let go of my ego and listen. To defer to my my colleagues and, ultimately, get ahead.

When we listen more than we speak, we:

  • learn
  • build trust
  • Increase buy-in
  • can be more present 
  • empower our colleagues
  • understand more information

Your colleagues feel heard and that they’ve contributed. This is critical for making good decisions and ensuring colleague engagement. People want to know their opinion matters.

As well, when you listen, instead of speaking, your ideas are made better. When you do share your ideas, they can be evolved to take in the best of what you’ve heard from the people around the table.

A favorite quote on the subject, from Abraham Lincoln on this topic:

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.

Next time you feel the need to speak up. To impress someone. To be the thought leader, bury your ego my friend, and release who you can actually be.

All my Best,

Clint Robert Murphy

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2 comments on “Do Not Talk – a leadership secret

  1. I’m glad you let go, imagine if you never did? where would you be today?