Trusted Advisor

A guy I knew years ago used to say, “What’s the difference between a consultant and a trusted advisor?”  The answer:  All of your money.  He almost always got a laugh with that one, but just last week I was reminded of just how true that can be. 

How can you tell the difference between a consultant, a hired gun, and a person that you can trust to give you the very best advice for your situation?  Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Time.  I’m sure everyone can think of a professional in their life that dings them for every second possible.  A lawyer, a mechanic, an accountant, maybe?  Not that there’s really a problem with that, after all everyone needs to earn a living.  The trusted advisor goes above and beyond the “billable hours” mentality and really takes the time to understand the business and its needs.   
  2. Perspective.  I think all consultants, both good and bad, want to deliver results.  It seems to me that their point of view can make all the difference.  If I look at a solution from the vantage point of the dollars that I will make first and the value for the client second, that makes me a consultant.  If I have truly taken the time to understand a business, its people and its goals, then I can really understand value first and worry about the money I will make second.
  3. Investment.  I’m talking about truly being (I hate this term because it gets abused so much) a partner.  I honestly feel that your success is my success, your challenges are my challenges and that your failure is my personal failure.  How well you do matters to me.
    I got to witness a great field tech who has achieved all of these things in action last week, and it was a thing of beauty.  That’s the bar to which all of us as service providers should be striving.  Thanks for the reminder, Will.