Listening with Deep Attention – Troy Carter

Source: Both Sides of the Table, Feb 2016

What did it take for Gaga to break out and what does Troy preach to startups?

I think the common denominator and the one word is ‘hustle’ 

And when you want to understand the character of Troy Carter I would note one subtle thing that could easily be lost. Watch Troy as I interview him. He really is paying unbelievably close attention to every question I ask. He’s looking intently at me the whole time, he’s trying to derive meaning from what I’m asking him. He’s earnest trying to answer each question with the insights he learned. I point this out because over the last decade I’ve interviewed hundreds of people. Few pay this level of attention in an interview and few engage this completely in a conversation.

I honestly think this is one of Troy’s intangibles. He seeks to really understand the party he’s sitting with and dedicate himself completely to that understanding in the moment. I say that because that’s what I experienced in my private meetings with Troy as well. And in a world where most people you’re sitting with are simply waiting for you to stop talking so they can say whatever is in their heads already – this level of paying attention, trying to understand the person you’re sitting with & truly engaging is rare.

I point out this subtlety because it is precisely the subtleties in life the determine ordinary performance from extraordinary. I believe the most successful people in business and life are the people who really pay attention to these details, who truly try to understand the motives and intentions of the person with whom they’re interacting and try to find common ground (or decide this isn’t a person they can work with).


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