My wife and I love watching Judge Judy…it’s our nightly routine while we eat dinner (am I getting old?). Judge Judy often tells people, God gave you 2 ears and 1 mouth…so you listen more than you talk.
This short story goes way back to when I first took command. Each flight in the squadron gives you a tour to briefly describe what they do and introduce you to some of the people. After I was done with one flight, a young man asked if I had a minute and shared an idea with me. It was one that he had tried at another base, but it had been turned down. I thought it sounded like a good idea and wanted to see what might become of it. I said what do you need from me and how long will it take to get done? Short version, I provided him with the support, minimal funding and a little motivation…he and a few others did all the work. His idea was a nominee to our MAJCOM’s Spark Tank (like Shark Tank) competition and he made it to the final 4. The best part…it is still in use today and saving time and money for the Air Force.
Bottom line: I took a couple of minutes to listen to an idea and told him I had his back. I didn’t get my hands dirty or come up with the idea…all him. He just needed someone to say I will give you what you need and I support you…and it is paying off. I know we are all busy…it’s the nature of our business, but take time out to listen…you never know when the next big idea is going to get introduced to you…2 ears, 1 mouth.