We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say. -Zeno of Citium

This post was originally posted on LinkedIn. View the original article, titled “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say. -Zeno of Citium.”

Zeno of Citium

Born 334 BC, Zeno of Citium was a Greek philosopher most known for founding the Stoic school of philosophy. Until recently I knew very little about Zeno of Citium.  The value of challenging myself while continuing my lifelong learning has been inspirational.  Although many of Zeno’s writings have been lost over time, many of his teachings were passed on by his students. It amazes me how his thoughts are so relevant to the world today. Zeno’s teachings concentrate on the following:

  • Logic – “Follow where reason leads.” Use data to guide direction and ensure delivery of measurable bottom line results.
  • Physics – “All things are parts of one single system, which is called Nature; the individual life is good when it is in harmony with Nature.” We must understand the community in which we serve, and ensure that they too are enriched.
  • Ethics – “Extravagance is its own destroyer.” Trust is the key to winning in the future.

What a pertinent message for the times we are living in. Zeno of Citium speaks to the connection between data and humanity. Throughout my career I have spoken of the importance of listening to Customers and employees, but often I think we miss the mark hearing only what we want to hear. As you can imagine I love this quote from Zeno, “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” I strive to do this within my career and personal life, but know that I can improve. These are admirable goals for all of us.

While contemplating a career change, I outlined five key aspects of culture essential to me: let me be me, serve Customers, listening, teamwork and empathy. I was not certain what type of role, or which organization would fit what I was looking for, but I knew I would enjoy the conversations. Over the past month I have had many productive meetings and hope to maintain these relationships long into the future. I am amazed and inspired by the number of people striving to change the direction of their own companies or industries. I admire and respect change agents.

I have to confess that Zeno Group, a Daniel J. Edelman company, came as a complete surprise for me. The company started as a conflict firm for Edelman, but since that time has grown to truly represent the philosophy of Zeno of Citium. Zeno recently introduced their employee values: fearless, human, collaborative, true to our word, and committed. When I first encountered John Kerr, Head of Global Digital for Zeno I was very impressed. I outlined what I thought was wrong with digital today and thoughts on where we can go. Often emails like that can turn people off, specifically because we like to see ideas in the marketplace validated not discredited. John’s response was to thank me for the candor and compare our backgrounds. I was stunned and intrigued. After meeting John in person I have to say he lives the values of Zeno Group. Later I met with Barby Siegel, CEO of Zeno. The moment we stepped into her office, I knew it was a company I wanted to work with. Behind Barby’s desk are rows of pictures. They were a mixture of photos of her family, and her Zeno family. This collage was living proof of her spoken vision. It is this human aspect that I found truly inspiring.

I am pleased to announce that today I have joined Zeno Group as the EVP, Head of U.S. Digital & Customer Experience. We will express the values of Zeno in everything we do and draw focus from the namesake of the company, Zeno of Citium. We will show the world the meaning of, “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.”

I am looking forward to serving the Clients of Zeno, and building a further understanding of their Customers.