Whether you turn on the television or pick up a paper, it seems as if the world today has abandoned reasoned debate in favour of an environment of binary choices.
The old fashioned concept of listening has been replaced by the certainty that there is nothing to listen to and everything to shout about.
Whether the issue is Brexit or climate change, sexuality or ethnicity, or any other issue, the shades of different views have been replaced by just two; black or white.
In simple terms, the view today is that if you do not agree then you are wrong. It does not matter whether your argument has any validity, listening may cause the fervent to doubt the cause and that would never do.
I personally think that the world has become a much less interesting and certainly less tolerant place, and one where increasingly people are afraid to have an opinion of their own for fear of being labelled or ostracised.
For the entrepreneur this lack of willingness to listen takes away one of the key skills required to be successful. Most successful entrepreneurs will point to a mentor who was prepared to listen to them and to challenge them in a way that improved their idea.
Successful entrepreneurs also talk of the importance of listening to their customers as a key to continuing to succeed.
One of the key things that we were taught in business was that disparagement only makes your business suffer. Putting down the opposition instead of pointing out your advantages doesn’t work and could open one up to a legal challenge.
Budding entrepreneurs need to maintain these dialogue skills and not develop the concept of always being right. Lack of sales will soon disabuse you of that fact if you haven’t been listening.
If you want to be an entrepreneur you need to recognise the key difference between the protesters and the entrepreneurs. If you want to protest and abuse the other side then all you need is an issue, however lacking in factual foundation it may be.
However, the difference for the entrepreneur is that they need to find real problems, based on intelligent research and then they need to find a solution.
There in lies the difference. Entrepreneurs deal with real solutions and those successful solutions come from discussing ideas with a critical friend and from listening to one’s customers.
Without that dialogue entrepreneurs will be no different to the protesters, with unrealistic solutions to badly thought through problems.