May 13, 2021

Still Giving Jurassic Advice?

I’m not surprised that I stood there alone.
On that rock-strewn, so-called ‘Jurassic Beach’.

Dinosaur domain.

I don’t know how to measure the force of winds and rains.
But it was a-lashing and a-thrashing. With waves a-crashing. Dangerously close.

‘Gale Force’ seemed appropriate to me.

I shouted insanely into the wind, as I tried to stand up straight.
Succeeding only in headbutting a force that laughed at my puniness.
Tears streaming from my stinging eyes.

“In the teeth of the gale” I think they call it.
The thing is… if I dared to open my mouth, it would knock my teeth clean out!

Sometimes we pluck up the courage to stand against forces buffeting us.

That might be an industry or a corporation pressuring us to conform to ‘Do Things Expediently’.
Perhaps, to keep winning more and more new clients.
To win. To overcome. To vanquish.

It might be short term cashflow needs – or self-imposed goals – tempting us to take a short-sighted view with client relationships.
To engage quickly.
Even if the relationship is wrong for us.

So, we learn to persuade… to influence… to coerce.

We wait for the 3-microsecond gap as the potential new client draws breath.
And we jump in with our brilliant advice.
We astound with our much-practiced solutions.
We dominate the conversation.

And, in the short term, we win.

The new client ‘buys’ our presentation.
Our spiel.
And signs up.

There’s a better way.

We could stop trying to ‘Add Value’ by Giving Advice – particularly in those earliest discussions with potential clients.
Instead, we could become far more valuable by Giving Attention.

We could try listening to this wonderful Being before us…
Absolutely fascinated by where they’re going with their thinking.

I remember well…
Many of the clients I met, in my financial planning role, were superbly effective people.

In wealth, more astute than me.
In business, more commercially successful than me.
In life, perhaps wiser, having travelled paths I had yet to attempt.

So, I went against the tide of Presentations, Power Phrases, Tips and Techniques.

I created a safe haven.
A place where they could think out loud, without my constant interference and interjection.

A Sanctuary.

In that sanctuary they uncovered – and I learned – what the real problems were besetting them.
Not the monetary frustrations they first brought to my attention.
The real problems of assumptions and poor thinking that created those frustrations!

In that sanctuary I frequently learned how close I came to providing superb technical solutions to the wrong problems!

In that sanctuary a depth of trust was created which withstood the tests of time – and multiplied how they valued us. Multiplied!
Without me resorting to Tips and Techniques.

When they leave their conversation with you, the world will hurl things at them to distract, bemuse, divert, buffet and blind.

For one moment in their life, you could provide a shelter from that bewildering storm of opinions and data and half-truths.

You could be the gentle wind of change they’ve been seeking.

To do so will probably require a different approach to your profession.
Less Telling and Selling.
More Listening and Learning.

And that will require your patience.

But then, what’s the hurry?

One day, they’ll think of you as ‘Jurassic’.
(My children already think that of me.)

Let’s just hope that – long years from now – as they speak your name, the counsel that you (eventually) gave has endured the sands of time