Listen to connect and co-create with

Navigational Listening.

I facilitated last week a workshop with an exceptional team of venturers, working together an ambitions venture.

I thought of sharing the learnings of the participants with you:

One of the greatest leadership skills is the ability to connect and promote an atmosphere of collaboration, interaction, and continuous work with stakeholders.

This is a great investment that needs attention in order to be maintained and nurtured continuously. Failing to do so might result in directly affecting the harmony and productivity of your company, it’s top and bottom lines.

This requires consciously channelling your energy in understanding and establishing the right relational dynamics with your multiple stakeholders, your shareholders and any other kinds of outer partnerships that your company might have.

One generative intelligence practice of achieving this is Navigational Listening – listing to connect and co-create.

So, what is Navigational listening?

Imagine you are having a conversation on Q2 results. They are not excellent. 

Part of you is searching to find out what is going wrong, judge how people did and find out who is at fault.  This part of you , will channel your focus into capturing details that calm your pursuit of judgement, and close down on appreciating any other information that is not relevant to “error finding” or “problem fixing”.


Another part of you is searching to get out of the situation. This requires focusing on what are the options, creative ideas , trying something new, experimenting , etc.  When your brain is noisy and busy on fault finding or problem fixing, you will neither be able to induce in others or in yourself a climate of creative thinking, nor to capture or derive any creative ideas or positive energy to open up to new ways of thinking.


 Navigational listening is a quality of listening in which you consciously create space for critical and creative thinking. This requires a mindset of clarity on what matters and holding the space for understanding “what is” from multiple perspectives and with genuine curiosity to understand and not to validate pre-conceived conclusions. Such mindset allows you to follow the flow of the conversation, expanding or diving deep, sharing and connecting with the purpose of not just exchanging but of building new understanding, new perspectives, and new options. 


Navigational listening is possible when you embrace consciousness –  self-awareness, collective awareness and systemic awareness. This allows you to be aware of your emotional spiritual, rational back-stage work that influences your “listening agenda”. 

3 practices can help you increase your level of consciousness and manifest it during critical conversations:

The magic of “and” – using “and” instead of “but” gives immediately the signal of building up, validating and reinforcing instead of rejecting, correcting, or minimizing the importance of what is previously said. Your brain and that of you interlocutor wires from a “co-creative” exchange. Repeat what you understood from what the other person said and continue your thinking with “and” : e.g. “You mentioned that we lost 3 key resources last Q and my question goes into understanding in what did it influence the results ? or … what lead to unexpected departure of these resources that we need to pay attention to? 


Double click – No assumptions – there is nothing that deteriorates quality of listening and trust than unspoken assumption. When you read between the lines, and feel the intended message is different from the spoken message, the best way to strengthen relationships is clarifying derived and perceived assumptions. Walking away from a conversation, or continuing further based on “assumed” message is a fertile bed for misunderstandings and conflicts that spoil relational dynamics. To practice no assumption, you need to develop the courage to speak up and be genuinely curious of what the other person really meant. When you talk about 3 key resources leaving the team, what is this an indication of in relation to the results?


Attend to what patters – Stop pretending to understand – being selective in what we hear influences the quality of a relationships. Being selective in listening is partly biology, partly self-control, partly education and partly relational. We tend to be curios, ears and eyes open towards people who we appreciate, and we want to learn from. The issue is that when we pretend to understand we stop building on each other’s ideas and navigate towards co-creation of new perspectives and options. When done as a habit, we stop learning and growing. selective in what we here and we have an attention span. One spoiler is “self-esteem”. We fear other people will thing we are not intelligent enough to understand what they are say.  There is nothing falser that that. Another spoiler is clarity of what matters – when we attend relationships or conversations for which we have no real interest – we pretend to understand, forgetting the if the other person is conscious enough they will certainly capture this and reflect it bac in due time. Relationships are reciprocal.

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