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Coach's Corner - Five Ways to Develop Your Powers of Observation

  • October 2, 2022
  • Written by Community Futures Meridian

Coach's Corner - Five Ways to Develop Your Powers of Observation


“Learn to see what you are looking at.” ― Christopher Paolini, Inheritance

In his recent book entitled See, Solve, Scale (St. Martin’s Press, 2022), Danny Warshay, a professor at Brown University, writes about the importance of what he calls “bottom-up research.” See, Solve, Scale is targeted at entrepreneurs and business people and investigates how better observation can lead to discovering unmet needs, which, in turn, may lead to developing new products or services. “Bottom-up research” focuses on observation and listening and can be applied by entrepreneurs and established businesses seeking innovative ideas.

Observation and listening are critical skills for leaders in any business or organization. Whether you are developing a new product or simply wanting to understand the people around you, taking the time to observe, listen, and reflect on the information you have gathered will assist you in your leadership.

  1. Be Open to Receiving Information – Preconceived ideas and beliefs hamper your ability to receive new information. In any situation, consider your biases and filters that might impede your ability to observe and listen openly.
  2. Be Intentional in Your Observations – Defining your intentions before making observations is essential. What goals am I trying to achieve by carrying out these observations?
  3. Be Focused – Eliminate or minimalize distractions when observing and listening. What could interfere with your concentration and ability to give a situation your undivided attention?
  4. Use All of Your Senses – Listening and observation require you to notice things like inflections in speech and a person’s body language. How can you ensure that you are being alert in every way?
  5. Develop Your Critical Thinking Skills – Take time to reflect on the data you collect. What crucial information did you receive, and how will you use it?

Follow these five tips and increase your ability to actively observe situations. Better observation and analysis of any situation will help you make better decisions when growing your organization. Improved observation skills can also lead to new opportunities you have yet to imagine.

“One can state, without exaggeration, that the observation of, and the search for, similarities and differences are the basis of all human knowledge.” — Alfred Nobel

Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching

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