We all seek counsel and comfort when we are embarking on something big, or going through change. Are you seeking the right assistance? Who we ask impacts the advice we get, and potentially the action we take.
Asking the wrong person can be disastrous.
When seeking counsel, remember these five factors:
1: An individual’s personal frame of reference. How is someone looking at your situation? When we reach out for help, others naturally reach back to their own experiences to try to help us. Have they gone through something similar? A friend of mine is seeking a new executive position. She requires a position that requires minimal travel because she has teenagers. She’s looking for an opportunity that is meaning- and mission-driven. When she consulted her father about this, his advice, while well-intentioned, was misguided. He worked through The Depression, worked in traditional and bureaucratic organizations, and never had to think about work-life balance. He told her to take the most stable job that comes along first.
2: An individual’s experience. Does the person have the professional experience you need to help you make sound decisions for the future? Have they accomplished a goal you are trying to meet?
3: Aligned value system and motivators. Does the person value the same ideals as you? Whether it’s family, money, spirituality, philanthropy, self-development, or any other ideal, are they driven by similar motivators?
4: Similar risk tolerance. A potential advisor could have a similar frame of reference, the experience you seek, and a similar value system. However, they may or may not have the same risk tolerance. Risk is an important criteria when seeking counsel for any decision. If someone is thinking of sky-diving, who they seek for support may alter their decision.
5: Your personal potential. Finally, a potential advisor may have factors 1-4 in common with you. However, if you have potential they don’t have – whether it’s intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, or time-based – they can’t advise you well. Our oldest son is evaluating college choices. He has many options. Part of his evaluation process is to talk with current students at prospective colleges. We’ve reminded him to “consider the source” when gathering information. Do they have the same interests? Intellectual abilities? Personal drive? Everything matters when seeking outside perspective.
Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own choices. Ultimately it is our voice that drowns out the others. However, we can learn from others that have gone before us. Choosing our advisors wisely enables us to make informed decisions.
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Please check out my Inc. Magazine columns on my Author Page too.
– In my latest Inc, article, I share The Essential Guide to Avoiding Workplace Text, Email, & Social Media Disasters.
– Learn about the 9 Leadership Behaviors that Lose Employee Trust & Respect here.
CEO, Successful Culture
“Taking Leaders from Triage to Transformation.”