Act before someone asks you to act
When someone I knew had a surgery for an ongoing back problem, the doctor had a nurse come out to the waiting room midway through the procedure to be sure her husband knew things were on track. After the operation, the doctor came out to reassure him that all had gone well.
My friend’s husband was appreciative but could not help wondering if this was the standard protocol since he and the doctor knew each other personally and attended some of the same social functions. The doctor explained to him that that type of surgery can take several hours. Not knowing how things were going can create unnecessary stress for those waiting. Because of that, he felt it was important to keep family members in the loop.
I was thinking that he did this only because they were friends. Everyone else had to wait, often for hours, before there was any news. In fact, the doctor told him it was not hospital policy or even part of his training during medical school. It was simply the thoughtful thing to do for all patients, not just the ones he knew personally.
A small gesture that only took 5-10 minutes did not take much. The difference to those waiting was enormous. This doctor clearly has a caring mindset.
Being thoughtful involves listening at work (to your customers and your employees), at home (to your spouse and your children), and your personal life (to your doctor, elders, trusted friends or experts).
This doctor understood his patients and their families. He knew they would be worrying, so he did something to help elevate that worry.
If you don’t listen, you can’t be empathetic. If you’re not empathetic, you’re not being thoughtful.
Being thoughtful is a key component to a caring mindset.
At the end of the day, our ability to truly listen to others is in our hands. We can all improve our ability to listen and to turn that listening into thoughtfulness.
When was the last time you were thoughtful enough to anticipate what someone needed before they asked?
One of the world’s pre-eminent experts on quality and process improvements, Subir Chowdhury is the #1 international bestselling author on SIX SIGMA philosophy. Hailed by The New York Times as a “leading Quality expert,” and by Business Week as “the Quality Prophet”, he is the author of 15 books. His latest book THE DIFFERENCE: When Good Enough Isn’t Enough (Crown Business, 2017) made it to the USA Today Bestseller list as well as National Bestseller in India. In 2017, India’s prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur established the ‘Subir Chowdhury School of Quality and Reliability’ – the first of its kind in Asia. He is the Chairman and CEO of ASI Consulting Group and helped his clients save billions of dollars.