Byron's Babbles

Listen and Look, Look and Listen

Posted in Leadership, Listen, Listening, Look by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on November 1, 2020

After the New Orleans Saints overtime win over the Chicago Bears tonight I was flipping through the channels (I know that term ages me) and came across an old episode of Columbo. I love that old show. Lt. Columbo, played by the late Peter Falk, is a police detective who is a little quirky, always has a cigar, makes you think he’s not too smart, but is super attentive. In the episode I turned to, he said “we don’t usually have much to go on except to listen and look and look and listen.” This struck me as the essence of what we all need to be doing. Columbo makes the guilty parties believe he is inept, but then teases out all the clues to solve the crime and prove guilt. Lt. Columbo makes an observation about some inconsistency. The seemingly trivial, it turns out to be the detail will tie together the entire investigation and establish the culpability.

Columbo brought a sense of curiosity and was sensitive to inconsistencies and incongruities. So, if we think about the term “look” we find that it means to direct your eyes in a certain direction. Then, “listen” means to pay attention to someone or something in order to hear what is being said, or sometimes what is not being said. “Listen” and “look” are actions usually thought of when we are paying attention.

We need to be more like Lt. Columbo and pay attention by listening and looking to focus our minds on someone or something that is happening.