Jack Lowe Jr. is the former CEO of Dallas-based TDIndustries, one of America’s premier contracting and facility service companies. Jack understands the value of listening commitment. Rated by FORTUNE magazine as one of the TOP 100 Best Companies to Work for in America”. TDIndustries has consistently been in the top ten since 1998. When asked, “Who is the very best listener you have ever known?” Jack quickly responded, “My Dad, Jack Lowe Sr., was the founder of our company and was the best listener I’ve ever known. He wanted to listen. After I got to TD and worked with him and saw him work in the community, I noticed it even more. People would tell me, “Your dad is a great listener”. He was very focused on who he was listening to. He took notes. He had an unbelievable interest in others and what they thought.

One thing he did occasionally that let you know how good a listener he was and how much he wanted to hear you was, if someone wanted to speak to him and he was busy he would say, “I can’t do it right now. Let’s set a date for another time and find a time when I can listen to you.” The message was, “I don’t want to act like I’m listening to you and not listen to you.” I’ve seen a lot of people inclined to think, “Well, I can dispatch this listening experience quickly and move on.” With this attitude, they are not listening. If you don’t value listening, you will not understand the importance of it. Because what you put value on you’ll work at harder and be more successful at. So just to emphasize how important it is, make time and don’t rush you listening.

One technique, I use particularly when people are pretty worked up (i.e. a disgruntled partner or someone who has a real passion about something) is to take a lot of notes. It says, “I’m paying attention here” and it does help me focus and pay attention to problems. If I’m writing it down, it helps me focus and not be distracted. It also slows others down and makes them think more carefully about what they are saying because they want me to get it right, especially if I’m, committing it to paper. They’re more careful and thoughtful in their communications, if I’m writing it down.”

Listening Pays Lesson: Intentionally listen with commitment and you will add value to yourself and your relationships.


  1. This is excellent advice.

    I might add that periodically during the note taking, repeat back to the person what they just said or requested so as to make sure you are hearing them correctly. This also shows that you care to get it right.

    I have been guilty of too often allowing folks to walk into my office unannounced (me wanting to be accessible, etc.) and they jump right into their concern, while I have not prepared myself to give them my full attention. When I am simply unable to give them my utmost attention, I believe I need to quickly put into practice “I can’t do it right now. Let’s set a date for another time and find a time when I can listen to you,”

  2. This article reminded me of Greg McKeown’s book, “Essentialism”. Greg emphasizes the importance of “living by design, not by default”. Jack Lowe Jr.’s story of his father is a great example of how to make the most of the time that we have.

  3. Thank you, for your comment, Steve. You have made a significant connection and one in which listening leaders forever practice.

    Make Today Count! ~ Rick

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