Closed-Loop Listening


Closed-Loop Listening

Closed-Loop Listening


If you haven’t heard of closed-loop listening, you are probably using it. Some of the biggest companies on the planet get caught in this type of communications and reality-view. It is a bad idea, destructive at its worst and it the main reason that companies that have a great brand name get beat up by new businesses that are smaller in comparison.

Closed-loop listening is the use of twelve or less sources/people for information to make decisions. This leadership system includes sources such as people, news outlets, and books or magazines.

Pick the resources that you use every day or week to get a picture of how your business is running. I bet you don’t even hit ten. This limited view is why you are stuck in a rut and not able to out-think your competition. When you hear the same viewpoint, you never get all of the information you need to grow.

This is why you see big businesses replace their president or chief operating officer in order to get to the next level. The problem with that way of making change is that the next guy is going to bring in his own closed-loop. A new loop is good for a bit but isn’t a great way to understand your business.

I mentioned in a prior article on that learning about your business can be as simple as talking with the janitor or the person standing at the front counter ringing up sales. The TV show Undercover Boss made a series on this simple way for a CEO or founder to learn about the business they are leading. It’s a train wreck of a show. Watching people who think that a spreadsheet is where the money is made trying to do the job that actually makes the spreadsheet have any value is a brilliant disaster. They find great employees (that’s part of the shtick for this show) and they find some losers. Either way, they learn so much more about their business than the ten sources they have used in the past that they make serious changes to how they operate their business.

I recently reached out to the President of Mrs. Winner’s Chicken and Biscuits franchise, John Buttolph. We connected on LinkedIn and had a quick conversation about adding a subscriber element to his company website. He was fast to respond, open to suggestions, and most importantly, was able to see value in a new viewpoint. I will always promote a franchise that has that kind of leadership. Check out Mrs. Winner’s Chicken and Biscuits at

How do you reach outside your circle of trust?

Finding best practices comes from looking up from whatever you have been focused on for more than six months. “We always did it that way” is the worst of all statements a leader can say. Finding better ways requires bringing in people who think differently than you do. You may not like everything they say but, they are giving you information. It is something you are missing as you listen to the same people you always have.

How many new resources can you find this week? Let me know where your best new resources come from at