It’s a Dog’s Life: Avoid Puppy Selective Listening Syndrome

Everything I know about business development I learned from my dog Star

When we adopted Star from the Lab Rescue Foundation, we were required to have her trained. We took this job seriously. First, we hired a private trainer. Then we took her to group training. My husband and I even created a “30-day action plan” — complete with milestones — to ensure the training stuck.

A-year-and-a-half later, Star’s about as obedient as the day we got her. It’s not that she doesn’t know all the basic commands¬†like, “Sit,” “Come,” and “Down.” She just chooses not to listen.

Unless there is something in it for her.

If you have a treat or she wants to go with you for a run, Star is the best listener ever. She’ll sit. She’ll give you “paw.” She’ll even give you “other paw” (yes, Star is ambidextrous). That’s when there is something in it for her. The rest of the time… well, we call it Puppy Selective Listening Syndrome.

Sadly, Puppy Selective Listening Syndrome is highly contagious to humans, and lawyers are among the most susceptible.

When vying for a new client, starting off on a new matter or waiting for an invoice to be paid, there is no better listener than a lawyer. Too often, when the “get” isn’t immediate, their listening skills seem to fade.

Listening is a basic tenet of good client relationship management. But it can’t be a part-time job.

We’re anticipating, based on past experience, that Star will recover from her listening problems in a couple of years, when she turns four. That’s about the time they get board of us trying to get her to behave.

Can you afford to wait that long? Give your client a call today and ask them how things are going. When you do, make sure you are listening to what they have to say.

Posted on July 30, 2010 in It's a Dog's Life

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