High Performing Business – Quality – Listen

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT


Rita Soto, the Cheetah Operating Officer, has this uncanny ability to listen to the micro nuances of what people need. It's one of the pillars of her decade long success with Cheetah Learning.

Rita Soto, the Cheetah Operating Officer, has this uncanny ability to listen to the micro nuances of what people need. It’s one of the pillars of her decade long success with Cheetah Learning.

Creating a quality experience for another in any realm is all about listening to them.  When through your actions, people are able to meet their needs, they feel heard, seen and acknowledged.  This is the higher level of “listening.”  Sometimes, though people do not even know they have the needs they do – until they see what it is they could be experiencing.  In learning, we call this stage the beginning of wisdom.  For example, before Cheetah Learning created the four day approach to passing the PMP exam, no one really knew they needed that.  It was just presumed to pass this very difficult exam, it took months and months of arduous preparation.   Yet even then, over 40% of people still failed.

But at Cheetah Learning, we listened to the one need that was not being met and that need was to be guaranteed to pass the PMP exam after a prep course.  It wasn’t just about doing an accelerated approach to prepping for the exam, it was actually passing the exam.   Yes, we’ve had numerous businesses’ who have attempted to copy Cheetah’s accelerated approach over the years – but there are things they are not hearing in what people need to make passing the PMP after only four days of prep a reality.  One of them is this guarantee – who wants a wasted journey?  None of these other copy cat company’s last longer than three years in any level of market penetration.  There is a reason for this – they don’t listen to the students as well as Cheetah Learning does.  They may start by offering a guarantee similar to Cheetah but soon realize they are missing some element of the accelerated four day prep approach that Cheetah uses and end up losing quite a bit of money attempting to satisfy a similar guarantee to Cheetah.   Then they start making changes to their guarantee, exclusions, holding back “administrative fees,” etc – eroding the value of their guarantee.  Soon they find the business just isn’t as lucrative as they once thought.  We’ve seen this play out many times in the fifteen plus years we’ve been helping people pass the PMP exam, at cheetah speed.

When you learn how to really listen to what people need and how they feel about that need, then you can start to create solutions of significant value.  This level of listening is not just a one time event – it must be a part of the culture and an embedded part of the company’s processes.  I read every single course evaluation from every student.   As do all the other key players in Cheetah Learning – we want to hear what our students have experienced.  We have daily dialogs with each other about what our students are telling us and how we can improve.  We share what we are hearing in every realm of engagement with prospective students, the people who are organizing our classes for companies, the third party course resellers, our students, even our students’ families.  Routinely we’ll hear back from our students how to better teach some of the techniques they use in our classes with their children.  So, we create free how to guides and mind maps that help our students use our approaches with others.  Consistent quality delivered Cheetah fast happens because of our ability to listen.

To create a high performing business with quality at the heart of everything you do, pay attention to how well you are listening to your customers.  You can learn how to better listen in several of Cheetah Learning online courses – the Cheetah Certified Project Manager program, the Communicating Through Conflict course, and in any of the Cheetah Negotiations courses.

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