I pulled a book out of my library that one of my consultant friends gave me as a gift about seven years ago, and I found a great list I believe is worth sharing with you. At Rhythm Systems, we are in the business of helping companies develop strategies and providing software, tools and consulting to help them execute while obtaining superior results.
As a part of this approach, our consultants strive to offer a vision of service as follows: "To build client confidence and clarity by providing a-ha moments and time with a trusted advisor.”
As I began to read the book, The Trusted Advisor by Maister, Green & Galford, I came across this list of traits that trusted advisors have in common and should aspire to possess. As we start out a new year, I think it is a good time for all of us to do some self reflection on how last year went. What did we do well, and what can we improve in the coming year? In doing so, I think the list below is a good start to evaluate myself as a consultant. In addition, I think it is also a good start for our clients to evaluate themselves as leaders and mentors in their companies. Letting the list do most of the work in this post, I ask you to read through and ask yourself if your consultant or mentor has acted as a trusted advisor this year and which of the traits he or she has exhibited well and which ones might need improvement this year. Enjoy!
- Seem to understand us, effortlessly, and like us.
- Are consistent and we can depend on them.
- Always help us see things from fresh perspectives.
- Do not try to force things on us.
- Help us think through things; it’s our decision.
- Do not substitute their judgment for ours.
- Do not panic or get overemotional; they stay calm.
- Help us think and separate our logic from our emotion.
- Criticize and correct us gently, lovingly.
- Do not pull punches; we can rely on them to tell us the truth.
- Are in it for the long haul; the relationship is more important than the current issue.
- Give us reasoning to help us think, not just their conclusions.
- Give us options, increase our understanding of those options, give us their recommendation, and let us choose.
- Challenge our assumptions; help us uncover the false assumptions we have been working under.
- Make us feel comfortable and casual personally, but they take the issue seriously.
- Act like a real person, not someone in a role.
- Are reliably on our side and always seem to have our interests at heart.
- Remember everything we ever said, without notes.
- Are always honorable; they do not gossip about others, and we trust their values.
- Help us put our issues in context, often using metaphors, stories, and antidotes; few problems are completely unique.
- Have a sense of humor to diffuse our attention in tough situations.
- Are smart, sometimes in ways we are not.
You can also use this list if you are an advisor inside your company or a mentor to someone. How did you do in your role as an advisor this year?
As I speak for myself, please let me know how I did either through this blog or directly. Your feedback is welcome and appreciated as I work hard to serve our clients in the best possible manner. I hope you had a successful year and wish you a very prosperous one ahead. Thank you for the opportunity to work with you and for your feedback.
From your trusted advisor, Alan
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