Fluid Power Journal

The Power of Listening : Lessons Learned from ‘Cheers’ to Parenthood and Beyond

By John Juhasz, Regional Sales Manager, Kraft Fluid Systems.

After the 11 O’clock evening news, they’d play syndicated re-runs of “Cheers”.  It started with 3 or 4 guys making “a thing” out of watching “Cheers” regularly. Later it grew out of the standing-room-only space, in Doug and Kyle’s dorm room, and morphed into the TV room in the lobby.

Of course, Cheers eventually ended, and the spin-off “Frasier” picked up. 

Dr. Frasier Crane’s famous tagline was “I’m Listening”.

I’ve spent some time “pulling wrenches” doing repairs on machinery. It sounds hard. A mechanic or technician can’t always just start replacing parts. To diagnose it correctly, you must “Listen” to what the equipment is telling you. Is the pressure low? Is something hot? Is it making a weird noise? Did something slow down? Where is that oil coming from? Does anything you do make it better? Does anything you do make it worse?

I’m listening.

I’ve also spent some time designing and specifying systems. It sounds hard. You need to listen to the desired outcome. How much will this machine weigh empty? How much will it weigh loaded? How fast do you need it to go? Does the operator want this on a joystick button or a toggle switch? Is there a safety concern when THIS happens or THAT happen?

I’m listening.

For a while now, I’ve been involved in sales. It sounds hard. If you cut through the clutter and all the self-proclaimed gurus and experts, “Sales” is nothing but getting good at listening. Why does your customer prefer this arrangement? Would it have any drawback to make this change if you got this other feature? What’s your timeline for completing this project? How will you evaluate the prototype to make sure it’s fit for production? If I went over to engineering and asked Jeff the same question what would he say? If I went out to Service and asked Terry the same question?

I’m listening.

Somewhere along the way, in those last 30 years since “Cheers” re-runs at Ohio State, there are also four little “mini-me” clones of me running around. Parenting is another area where there are a lot of “experts”. It sounds hard. Listening is important here too. (Some of them are not so fun.) Where does it hurt? Did you fall? Did your sister kick you? (and then the better stuff) … How did you make this neat painting of Stitch? Is that papier-mâché? What do you want Santa to bring you? What do you want to be when you grow up? Who’s your best friend at school? What teacher do you like the most? Do they still have Spelling Bees? Did Uncle Steve buy you guys lunch before he brought you back home?

I’m listening.

Our industry is always changing. That crystal ball can be cloudy. It sounds hard. We can probably listen to what it’s telling us. Is there more emphasis on electrification? Is power density always going to be a thing? How do we pass on what we know? What should we pass on and what SHOULDN’T we? Who are we passing it on TO? What do THEY want to know? What do they NEED to know? What will THEY teach US? What’s going to look different in 30 years? What’s going to look the same in 30 years? What’s going to BE the same but LOOK different in 30 years?

In case you’re wondering, they did a reboot of “Frasier” this last fall, 20 years after the original run of “Frasier” ended and 30 years after “Cheers” ended.

Maybe some things don’t change so much after all. What do you think?

I’m listening. 

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One thought on “The Power of Listening : Lessons Learned from ‘Cheers’ to Parenthood and Beyond”

  1. Matt griffith says:

    Excellent article! Loved listening/ reading this!

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