Industrials

Leading The Leaders: How An Advisor Really Works

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<p style="text-align: justify;">Ever wonder who leaders turn to for sage advice?&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Every CEO and leadership team should have access to a high-level advisor. As someone who works with company leaders, my favorite type of advising resembles Wendy Rhoades.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">All Companies Should have a Wendy Rhoades from Billions</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Rhoades is the popular Billions character, played by Maggie Siff, who advises ego-driven leaders with the deft combo of active listening skills, some psych theory, a deep intellect, an analytical mind, and a wicked understanding of the human condition. She advises business leaders as a part performance coach, part human BS detector. This combination, I believe, is what I think makes the best leadership advisor around.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">If you are lucky enough to find a good one, advisors are like having a workout buddy, an accountability partner, and a lie detector all in one. They will call you out when you need it. They will analyze your next move as you lead a company toward growth or into the fire. And they will hold your safe space.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Last month, I was brought into a company that already had a high-level management consulting team in place, but they were getting nowhere. I got the opportunity to observe and advise on why they were stuck. It was in this project that it dawned on me &ndash; every company in every industry should have an advisor on speed dial.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">By bringing in someone from the outside, this company could get neutral insight from someone who was not a company insider.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">A Reorg Case Study</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">A firm is being paid a ton of money &ndash; and by a ton, I mean at least what the CEO is making for a year. They are called in to troubleshoot a reorganization. But they can't make any headway because the current leadership &ndash; the ones most likely about to change &ndash; won't get out of their way. There is a new CEO to make this happen, but their ideas kept getting axed. The inner circle is playing a game of major mind F&amp;^%.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">An advisor can be most effective by helping the leader to have domain over their mind. With 60,000 thoughts coming into a leader's mind daily, it is sometimes a challenge for them to make the right decision.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">The advisor gets to work quietly behind the scenes, to work with the new CEO to create a more robust organizational leadership structure, make a change management plan, and help the leader see where they are stuck with the current leadership.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Cut the Mental Clutter</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">A new structure comes to life, and the new leader can cut through their mental clutter to focus specifically on the new strategy they've set for the new direction. &nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In many cases, the leader has feelings about their thoughts, and it takes an advisor who has built the trust to observe the present moment and point out where the leader is stuck in a destructive thought loop. Together with the advisor, they cut through the BS, strategize, and are able to identify any blocks. A plan for success for the new version of the company emerges.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">In this case, the CEO and the management team needed an advisor to come in to see what they couldn't see.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">The Right Advisor for You</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">A good advisor or performance consultant can focus on a few priorities.</p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li style="list-style-type: none;"><ul><li>The advisor should focus on the leader's thought patterns.</li><li>The advisor can observe the thoughts that arise from whatever the situation, circumstance, and can help the leader see what is actually true.</li><li>Very often, leaders will have thoughts about a situation, which then bring up feelings of anger or fear. They can't always name it. If the advisor can be fully present, they can observe and call it as it is.</li><li>Good advisors will focus on facts, not feelings.</li><li>They keep the leaders' eye on the prize and stick to the business, reminding them that nothing is personal.</li><li>They serve as a reminder that we can have those 60,000 thoughts per day, but we don't need to act on them or decide about them.</li><li>They remind the leader that they are hired to do their job, not seek approval to be liked by all. It isn't a popularity contest, so the advisor can help the lead identify when they are in ego.</li></ul></li></ul><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">How Expensive?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">The cost for top advisor skills can be 300k and up for consulting at a large company. Typically, a handful of hours per week and an average of 30 hours per month is an average to see results. The leaders have someone to lean on, and a confidentiality agreement begins with the first phone call. Smaller companies may hire out for about 150k.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">A success factor is having an advisor on retainer for your company leadership and specifically for the CEO.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 14pt;">Call to Action</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">Find an advisor and call a couple of times a week. Find the right fit:</span></p><ul style="text-align: justify;"><li style="list-style-type: none;"><ul><li>An advisor who doesn't buy your BS</li><li>Someone who doesn't have skin in the game</li><li>Someone who doesn't care if you like them or not</li><li>Someone who listens more than they talk. And by listening, I mean an active listener and an empath. Both qualities are extremely rare.</li><li>If you believe in Myers Briggs, the INFJ personality type is extremely rare but makes the most insightful advisors. Feel free to ask your advisor about their personality type.</li><li>Find an advisor who uses a neutral listening ear, builds trust, and wants what is best for you</li><li>Find an advisor who will not be a "yes" person. They are not your punching bag or a doormat and are willing to speak openly with you.</li><li>They agree to complete confidentiality and sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement before your first call or meeting.</li></ul></li></ul><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><em>This article was contributed by our expert <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/bethjannery/">Beth Jannery</a>&nbsp;</em></span></p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><h3 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 18pt;">Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Beth Jannery&nbsp;</span></h3><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">1. What is the role of a business advisor?</span>&nbsp;</h2><p style="text-align: justify;">An advisor helps leaders, companies, and the clients of companies to level up. It is a high-end trust resource to engage when you, your company leaders, or your clients need focused guidance. A good advisor doesn't "tell" the client or leader what to do or how to think but acts as a confidential and neutral sounding board to actively listen and bring out their very best mindset. Working with a skilled advisor can make the difference between growth and success and stay stagnant in business.</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">2. What type of business advisors are there?</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">Many coaches or business consultants are willing to give motivational pep talks, but a one-on-one leadership advisor is a clutch for truth-telling, cutting through the noise, and illuminating what a leader or client needs to go from being stuck to making transformative decisions.&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">3. How important is a business advisor to your business?&nbsp;</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">A trusted advisor is a mandatory role for any leader in the C-suite or company or private equity firm serious about building out a new team or targeting growth.&nbsp;</p><h2 style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-size: 12pt;">4. What is the difference between advisory and consultancy?&nbsp;</span></h2><p style="text-align: justify;">A consultant is project-based and does the project work, whereas an advisor is a senior-level guide who works one-on-one with the leader to help achieve dominion over the mind and the mental blocks and identify patterns that no longer serve the leader. The advisor shines best when the client understands that their thoughts are creating results.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p>
KR Expert - Beth Jannery