Getting Up Close & Personal with Trust Tips

We’re about halfway through our countdown of Trust Tips leading up to the release of  “The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook: A Comprehensive Toolkit for Leading with Trust,” a new book written by the two of us—Charles H. Green  and Andrea P. Howe—to be published by Wiley Books, on October 31, 2011.

We try to keep our tips applicable to nearly every workday. That way you can apply them now and see positive results quickly.

You can get the Trust tips delivered straight to your Twitter feed by following us directly (@CharlesHGreen and @AndreaPHowe) or by searching with the hashtag #TrustTip.  I’ve really been enjoying the thought-provoking discussions we’ve been having and I would encourage you to join us.

But as Twitter isn’t for everyone and as we don’t want to leave anyone out in the cold we also keep a running list of the tips here on the site—see below:

If you need to catch up, see our recaps of Tips:

Below are the most recent, Tips #80-75

#80: Two sure trust-killers: a tendency to blame, and an inability to confront

#79: Name one trigger or fault you have; decide how to coopt it

#78: Don’t interrupt. If you do, apologize. Even if you’re a New Yorker.

#77: Did you just name-drop? Why? Who did it help? Check your motives

#76: Call your client once in awhile just to find out how he/she is

#75: Reduce your APM count (acronyms per minute)

#74: If you can’t present it without PowerPoint, go work on your presentation skills

#73: Spend time in your client’s shoes–imagine what it’s like to be him/her; role play with a colleague

#72: Cultivate an attitude of curiosity–think in advance about what questions you want to ask

#71: Try doing your thinking out loud; with your client. Don’t hide it away.

A Couple of Our Favorites

#72: Cultivate an attitude of curiosity–think in advance about what questions you want to ask.

In much of our professional life, our dominant attitude is one of self-focus.  We may be worried, or excited, or intent—but in all such cases, we are self-absorbed.  But the key to success in much of our professional life is to be outward-facing, customer-focused, other-oriented. Fine, you say—but how do you do that?

One way to do it is to cultivate an attitude of curiosity. You can cultivate it by intentionally setting aside time to wonder—wonder why this situation is so, and why things work that way, and where this other thing first came from.  Wondering can lead to questions, and once you have questions, you have a great basis for an other-oriented conversation.

You can make curiosity a habit that way; a habit that results in an attitude. And an attitude results in behaviors that are client-focused.  Your clients will notice.

#80: Two sure trust-killers: a tendency to blame, and an inability to confront

Phil McGee coined this one, and we love it.  Blame—the tendency to deflect bad news onto others, while disproportionately taking credit ourselves.  Blame violates several principles—it is greedy and self-oriented, but it is also deceitful, since it incorrectly assigns responsibility.

The flip side is an inability to confront.  If you can’t constructively confront issues, you can’t speak the truth.  And if you can’t speak the truth, you can’t be trusted.  Note that you don’t have to be brutal to be a truth-teller, that’s not much better than sugar-coating.  But with good intent and careful communication, you can nearly always speak to any issue truthfully.

If you can do that, you can be transparent, open, and have direct and powerful conversations with everyone.  And if you can constructively confront, by the way, there is no longer much reason to blame.


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