Spark Innovation by Listening

Rosalind Brewer

Lesson time 15:42 min

In this lesson, Roz breaks down one of her most valuable skills—active listening. She explains how active listening can foster an environment of innovation. Then she hears pitches from three interns from Walgreens’ summer internship program.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Listen & Feel • Listen to Your Customers as Well as Your Employees • Listen to Everybody for Ideas


[MUSIC PLAYING] ROZ: In this next lesson, you're going to learn about the importance of listening while you're trying to innovate. So many times when you're taking on a new opportunity and you're meeting your employees for the first time there's a lot of expectations from all of your audiences. But there's two paths you can take on this. You can walk into the room, the first auditorium visit, and you can give that organization a pep talk. And many might enjoy that. But then there's a second path, where you could go in and be a keen listener. And it's interesting to think about the keen listener. It's a position that I take most. Because I'm taking on a new opportunity. What your organization wants to know is that you're not coming in on day one to invoke change. You're here to listen, to help, and migrate ideas. - How are you? - Good, hi. You know, when I'm doing something as simple as a store visit, my first and most important initiative is to walk in and to listen. Oh, wow. Really? And I want to make sure that they understand, I am not coming in to Monday morning quarterback. When I'm there, quite honestly, it is for me. It's for me to learn and for me to listen. Because I'm going to go back, and I'm going to take action. There are some great ways to foster innovation. And, you know, I want to remind this audience that innovation happens at all levels and in all disciplines, but it starts with asking good questions, right? And some leaders who believe they know it all and have it all, they sit back and they direct, instead of engaging more people in problem resolution, engaging people on processes and things that happen in a forward-looking environment. Whenever I join a company, I've always thought it was important to understand the employee perspective. So I worked the drive-thru at Starbucks when I became COO. I unloaded trucks for Walmart and moved to Walmart headquarters for a 90-day learning journey when I joined the company as vice president of southeast operations. It's important to learn from and to listen to the employees. I can think of times when being in stores and I ask some of our cashiers, what would make your job better? And they will know things that we never thought of, those who are in the position to create what's next at the company. But when you talk to people who have to apply the work, their innovation will start happening too. But you have to put them in the mode of question and answer. You want me to think different, right? You're asking me to think different, and you're pushing. And so by asking those questions, you're actually pushing for innovation. And to be very persistent shows people that I'm willing to listen, we're willing to change, we're looking for new ideas, and you're a part of the process. And so it's the times where you create collaboration and engagement at all levels that you get the best results. And it's really interesting to me, is...

About the Instructor

After years of helming the ship at some of the country’s most iconic companies, including Walmart, Starbucks, and Walgreens, Rosalind Brewer has forged ahead in her quest to innovate while maintaining deep integrity. Now she’s sharing CEO-level strategies for team leaders of all types. Learn to promote innovation, gain buy-in on projects you believe in, and stand out as the leader you know yourself to be.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Rosalind Brewer

Fortune 500 CEO Rosalind Brewer has transformed companies like Walmart, Starbucks, and Walgreens— now she’ll teach you how to make an impact at any level.

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