In-House Business Startup Journal Part 2: Talking Less and Listening More

Talking Less and Listening More

By Andy Brenits, as originally seen on

My first few day on the job typically include meeting lots of new people including colleagues, clients, leaders, and direct reports. Along with the usual and customary “welcome aboard” hand shaking, I’m also asked about my background and experience.

Over the course of the next few days as I meet more people and get comfortable with the ones I’ve already met, I also start learning more about how things are currently operating, or how things used to be. I probably don’t have to tell you that people in any office setting love to talk about the good old days, especially when they were not all that good.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a talker. However an important part of managing and leading is active listening. And that’s what I’m doing more of during my first 10 to 20 days on the job than any other time.  It’s not just the formal meetings with my boss, their boss, clients and stakeholders, or department colleagues that give me the knowledge I’m going to work with but all of the impromptu gatherings, office drop-by’s, first week-on-the-job lunches and hallway-meetings that really inform me about what I need to do.

I learn more about what is or isn’t working, or needs to be implemented, from these short conversations than almost any other time on the job.  And I use these opportunities to ask questions, and really listen to the answers my co-workers give me about how my team can best serve them.

Andy Brenits has had the privilege of managing creative services start-up operations for four organizations in his 20 year career. The In-House Business Startup Journal is an amalgamation of his experiences leading creative services businesses and the trials and tribulations of getting things up and running to a sustainable state. Names have been changed to protect the innocent or those who should have known better.

Along with being the editor of the InHOWse blog, Andy is the President of InSource, an association of in-house creative managers and leaders. His day job however, is leading an in-house team in Phoenix Arizona.