Did you know that listening can affect strategic performance?

Science Highlight

A long-time passion for me has been to ask the question of how people with different skills and talents can work together towards a common goal. I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation about this question.  I had reason to believe that listening to people trained in different skills and perspectives could improve decision making. What I learned may help you now. How? By showing that a certain amount of listening can affect strategic performance, the study may help you justify the cost of training yourself and group members in listening skills.


In my research, I tested how much groups needed to listen about each other’s values in order to make the best strategic decisions. The groups involved in the study each had a member trained in finance, human resources, operations, and marketing.  Do your group members need to pay attention to cash flow? Retention of staff and volunteers? Productivity? Sales and income? Whether you are profit, non-profit, or volunteer, these things matter to your success.

I also tested group strategic performance. Without going into details, that was one of the best parts of the study. We had many of the measures of strategic success that you would find in the “real” world, while having groups making decisions evaluated by computer software at the same time.

What I found was that those groups that listened to members explain how and why a decision would affect their department made better decisions that improved strategic performance. It was also true, that groups could spend too much time listening and not see as much success.  Remember the adage “all talk and no action?”

Listening was not enough for these groups. There was also a need to focus on action. Having three action proposals (not just one or as many as six) on the discussion table led to the best results. Balancing listening with focus on action was an effective combination.

Activate Your Intention: The Trident Power Exercise

In the basic exercise at Moving Intentions LLC, The Trident Power Exercise © 2010, you learn a view of power that integrates listening and action with your intention in an experiential way. I am pleased that my research has evolved into an experiential approach to activating intentions. If you would like to try this approach, you can apply it to your own intentions with the DVD below.

If you want to activate your personal intention right away, click here to watch the Trident Power Exercise video.

¹Bowie-McCoy, Sophia Susan. The Effects of Functional Integration, Comprehensiveness, and Agreement on the Strategic Performance of Crossfunctional Groups in High-Velocity Environments© 1992. Dissertation. Department of Management, Graduate School, University of Oregon, 1992.