I had a phone conversation with a cattle farmer who is half my age and lives 300 miles away, yet he wants to represent me in the US Senate next year. It is overwhelming to me thinking about a) the vast diversity of interests any politician is expected to address and b) the effort it takes to run for a statewide seat. The primary is nearly a year away and already he’s making calls and hosting events — and, of course, will be eating food-on-a-stick at the State Fair. All while trying to raise his cattle and keep his farm running.

I give him credit for getting my phone number and scheduling a conversation (not a cold call or robocall) to answer my questions and learn about what is important to me in this election. I think all organizations could do more in this regard. It’s so easy to get absorbed in doing the work that we forget to make time to listen to those that we are ostensibly doing the work for.

When is the last time you scheduled a call with one of your clients — not to ask for anything — but to serve as a live connection to your organization and hear what is on their mind? Even though you are not running for office your ability to win a vote of confidence from your clientele could be enhanced with a listening tour. Schedule a few calls instead of another routine meeting and see what you can learn.

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