What Does It Take to Be a Trusted Advisor?

“I’m a trusted advisor.” Many people wear a statement like this one as if it’s a badge of honor, but what does it really mean? After all, the advice is only as good as the person giving it, but understanding which individuals can actually be trusted to offer advice on things is complex. When does it happen, and what does it take to build trust? It takes an investment in four key areas: integrity, intention, capabilities, and results. 

Breaking It Down

Integrity is often talked about the concept but not one that is well understood. Joyce Meyer once suggested that integrity means you’re the same person in public that you are in private. Unfortunately, many people believe they can be a completely different person at home than they are at work. It’s not that simple. Having two different personalities doesn’t build integrity, it destroys it, and if you cannot master this one step, becoming a trusted advisor simply isn’t possible. 

The intention is the second piece of the puzzle. The intention is the planning and forethought you put into your company and business deals on a daily basis. It’s a mental process that involves your deepest motives. What are your intentions with every client you meet? Is it to pad your earnings or is it truly to meet their needs? Gandhi once suggested that the moment there is a suspicion about another person’s motive, everything he does becomes tainted. Without those good intentions, a trust will never be earned. 

The third piece is capabilities. How capable are you of building trust? How capable are you of leadership in and of itself? Maybe you know some great leadership quotes. Maybe you have motivational posters hanging on the walls of your office. You can understand trust and the role it plays in being a leader without actually being able to execute it. The bottom line is that no one will ever trust you if you can’t demonstrate the capabilities necessary.

The final piece of becoming a trusted advisor is a fairly natural step from the first three. It’s results. If you cannot deliver, you cannot be trusted. General Colin Powell once said that success is the result of perfection, hard work, learning from failure, loyalty, and persistence. Do you execute that on a daily basis? Are you building results from your everyday work? If you’re not, a trust will never be a factor in what you do. 

A Simple Metaphor

Think for a moment about the mighty oak tree and what keeps it strong and tall in even the worst weather. At the base of the tree is its deep root system. The integrity of the tree lies in that root system. Without this solid core, it couldn’t stand up to the changing winds and rough weather. The trunk stays solid in that same weather, hard on the outside but carrying essential nutrients to the tree inside. That’s the intent. The tree intends to survive, provide beautiful foliage and shade, and the trunk makes that happen. The foliage of the tree is not to be ignored. 

In fact, it’s often what we appreciate most about the mighty oak tree. The foliage makes the tree capable of surviving. It builds the food the tree needs to continually do its job – bear fruit. The fruit of the tree is the result of the entire process from the root system to trunk delivery to the hard work of the foliage. 

Do you have what it takes to be a trusted advisor? Do you have the four parts of the mighty oak tree so you can deliver real results to your own clients? Learn more about how to build the skills you need most to move from a business contact to a trusted advisor with the Samurai Business Group.