Who do you go to when you want to get candid feedback or advice? You need to have a group of trusted advisors. I was recently preparing for a keynote presentation. I had 40 minutes for this presentation to a large audience and when I was working through the presentation, one of the things I was really reluctant to do was use a lot of slides. You know that whole death by PowerPoint syndrome. I wanted to see if I could actually just talk for 40 minutes without using any slides. Of course, I was nervous about doing that. I thought by not using slides I might be excluding visual learners, as a lot of us take information in through our sight.
So, I spoke to a couple of my trusted advisors and I said to them, this is what I’m thinking, but I’m not sure, what are your perspectives? Some of them gave me different perspectives, but one of them said to me, ‘Tom, what is it that makes you more nervous? What do you think would put you on the edge? ’ And I said, ‘Well definitely by not using slides, that would be really edgy and that would be really scary.’ And he said to me, ‘Well, that’s what you should do.’ He said, ‘I’ve seen you work many times and you always do your best work when you’re on the edge because that’s when you’re fully engaged.’ So I trusted him, I prepared my presentation, I had no slides and I spoke for 40 minutes by engaging with the audience through a whole series of stories and points.
The point here is that sometimes we play safe but we do need people who are going to push us. Your trusted advisors are those people who know you. You trust their judgement and they’re able to give you candid feedback. They can push you along, they can stretch you because they have your best intention at heart. You need to have people as trusted advisors perhaps in different areas of your life. You may have a number of trusted advisors when it comes to marketing, when it comes to personal development, you may have some trusted advisors that you can talk to about spiritual issues, maybe about family issues, but you do need to have people that you can go to and get feedback. It’s really important for us to have people that we can sound out and be able to hear ourselves think because many a time, it’s actually when we articulate our thinking that we are able to get a deeper perspective of our own thoughts.
What effective trusted advisers do is ask you good questions and then give you a perspective based on their experience, their expertise, and their knowledge of you. Of course, ultimately the choice to make whatever decision it is, is up to you, but it is critical to have those trusted advisors who can actually challenge your thinking. My reflection point for you is – Who are your trusted advisors? How many of them do you have? Do you need to seek more out and do you perhaps need to utilise them to help you be a more effective leader?