“You’d be surprised about listening. Listening doesn’t cost anything. Listening is free.” (Richard Branson – founder, Virgin Group)
(Writer’s Note: A very happy birthday to my former intern, Brian Pollard. You may have gotten a first hand experience in new product development and marketing, but you really taught me a lot as a business founder/owner.)
I’m going to be honest, here. One of the hardest things is to get older people to listen to you, or take you seriously, especially if you’re a lot younger. I’ve gotten to expect that a lot within the past few years. But in 2013, when my first batch of interns came, I promised to listen to them, as being a lot OLDER, I knew that I lacked (and still do) a lot of NEW things.
Brian stood out. He under promised and over delivered. He rarely asked for guidance and was always on time with weekly reports and goals. I knew this was not a typical 19, 20 year old. One Friday night, he asked for a phone meeting as he read a list of suggestions, not only for his role, but for my business in a current and modern-day capacity. I listened and kept on listening. I was surprised because it was 9pm and he really should’ve been out with his friends doing what a 19 year-old should do on a Friday night. Our brainstorming sessions became a regular thing and he helped get our Instagram account up and getting the awareness out to a younger audience.
A year later, his decision to transfer colleges lead to a phone call from the Admissions Office of his first choice school. The person on the phone asked me “how highly do you recommend this person… ?” My response:
“All due respect, you’d be stupid not to get him.”
Congrats, and keep it up, Brian! You’re going to go far in life.