201. The dichotomy of advice

Kevin C. Whelan: I want to talk a little
bit about the dichotomy of advice.

And what I mean by that is.

When we think about selling advice,
we think that we're going to have

answers in the, we have to make.

From recommendations that we
have to kind of know what to do.

And clients pay us to know what to do.

And yet.

From my experience.

And that's not always the case.

In fact, sometimes the best way to
give advice is to ask good questions.

And two.

Offer options.

And to propose.

Certain visions.

And then to let your client or
whomever is the receiver of that

advice, collaborate with you on.

What they want to do and what
works through their lens and

then have a discussion that
says, here's how I see this.

And here's what I feel about this.

And here's what maybe
the data shows just us.


Now, looking at that information,
how are you going to proceed?

And so that's the hardest part, it's
that we feel like the value that we

provide comes from having answers.

And, the more I give advice, the
more I sell advisory services.

And then something I've been doing
for over five, six years now.


The more, I realized that.

I'm going to give direction on
some, some pretty functional things.

But anything major, anything
strategic needs to be internalized.

And needs to pass through, at least
most of the filters of the clients

that I work with, so that they're
able to come to their own conclusion

about what's right for them.

Because I think the underlying
assumption here that.

That I've come to trust and believe in is
there has to be a degree of instinct that

goes into these major business decisions.

And so while we can point people
to tactical solutions, real change

and advisory work, isn't just about
the technically correct decision.

Although that's sometimes the case.

It's really about.

Helping mesh your vision of
the world with your clients.

And if you feel very strongly about
it on their behalf, talking about

and asking questions, Long enough.

Until the answer becomes obvious or clear.

And I think that's the trickiest
part because you may go through

one, two or three or five calls.

And maybe your client, isn't
quite seeing your vision.

And maybe you don't quite
agree with their direction.

And then the question
is, how do I mesh up?


Perspectives with all the pattern
matching that I've done, because

ultimately they're hiring you.

To bring that pattern matching to.

Because you've seen.

Overlapping elements that
make people successful.

And how do you find a
direction that you both.

Feel good about, or at least.

You know, the client feels reasonably
good about making that decision.

And so that's the interesting part.

It's, we're not really paid to have
all the answers and yet we feel

like we don't have the answers.

If we don't come prepared with solutions.

That we're not adding value.

And that's just the trickiest part.

That's the dichotomy of advice is that
a lot of times, advice isn't advice.

It's thinking out loud together.

It's asking questions.

It's exploring the logical
conclusion of certain things.

It's exploring, intellectually,
what happens if you do this

versus this, and then running that
through your collective patterns.

Through the client's own vision of
what they've seen in their world,

and they know their, their market
and whatever else, with yours.

Where it gets tricky.

And this is the tricky part that I wrestle
with all the time is that sometimes

I have more experience working with.

With clients that look
like a certain type.

You know, either the consultants
or coworking spaces or whatever.

And I can kind of see that in order
to reach this business objective.

The client's going to need to do
something that's uncomfortable for them.

And so the advice might
be, Hey, for example.

You know, it looks as though you're
able to capture any leads that come

your way and do commodity level work.

But in order to get to this next phase,
we need to start making hard decisions.

We need to start making trade-offs.

How do we, de-risk that?

What trade offs are you willing to make?

Because, unless there's complete buy-in
even if there's hesitancy, that's fine.

By de-risking that we can say,
Hey, I know this doesn't feel right

in this particular case, maybe if
intellectually, it makes sense.

But it's scary.

And does that mean we
should proceed or not?

Sometimes that's what.

Advisors think that they
need to do all the time.

And sometimes you have to, sometimes
you have to say, I know this is not.

For example, focusing on
a narrow target market.

It feels unconventional,
but time and time again.

It points your marketing
strategy points, your tactics.

Points your budgets.

It makes everything, all the decisions, a
little bit more streamlined and effective.

Whether that's your target
market or your target problem,

whatever you're focusing on.

So that's the thing it's, um,

It's hard being an advisor because
you don't always have the answers,

but what you're doing is you're
exploring your pattern matching.

You're teaching.

And your job is to communicate
your worldview and communicate the

experience that you have, and then
to meet clients somewhere in the

middle, because ultimately it's
their job to make the decisions

that are right for their business.

And so, yeah, I mean, having some degree
of skin in the game with a recommendation.

Trademark, you know, like a formal.

Piece of advice.

And standing by that sometimes
that's the right path.

That's a good thing to do, but just
so often, that's, I don't know.

Here's what I've noticed.

Here's what I'm feeling and
sensing about your situation.

Here's what I believe to be true.

And you as the advisor have to trust
that vision because you've honed it.

You've, you've gone through.

If you've worked with enough
people that you have good

instincts and good taste, ideally.

So you have to kind of offer that
in some cases and yet still meet

clients halfway, run it through there.


And collectively, you need to decide
whose whose vision are we going

to follow and how do I, how do you
get more aligned on those visions?

So that the same thing.

And that can be a long drawn out
process through questions and answers.


Several calls.

And, uh, and then, you know, but the
end of the day, the client has to make

the decisions about their business.

You just have to help them.

If you feel strongly, help them see your
vision and where your pattern matching is

coming from, find analogies and examples
of the stories, maybe to back that up

and then let the client counter-argue
if they're feeling resistant to it.

So at least you can get to the very root.

Of why a decision may be right or not.

And then at least you can
make a good decision rather

than a background processing.

Oh, I don't feel good about this, but
I haven't really taken the time to

explore why I don't feel good about this.

Ideally you want to get right down to the
root and say, here's what this looks like.

And another thing is that sometimes
in the case of say specializing in a

problem or a person talking market,

Sometimes they don't see how going smaller
is going to open up and get bigger.

So it's really worth.

As an advisor exploring.

And conversing.

Around big decisions.

To help give paint a
picture and paint a vision.

And at the end of the day, You
know, advice, isn't always advice.

The dice is exploration.

And questioning and sharing stories.


It's kinda like a shaman in a village, not
to overdramatize what advisors do, but.

And this goes for everyone, even if
you're doing implementations, the same

thing, or you're still giving advice.

So I don't want to.

I don't wanna exclude any group of people.

This is people who.

Offer guidance in the course
of their work together.

The gentleman may have a
vision and you may go to them

for all that life experience.

And then at the end of
the day is your path.

To take and it's your decision.

And so we, we can't, overbear
people with our vision and

sometimes oftentimes there's truth
in counter-arguments and, and.

Going back to this element of dichotomy.

Sometimes you can do things the opposite
way and still reach the objective.

Which is, which is, which goes to show
you that advice has to be loosely held.

And wrestled with and.

Talked through.

So this won't matter so much with the
technical little details, but it will

always matter for pushing clients, helping
clients get out of their comfort zone

and out of the ruts of their thinking.

And they're hiring you because they
want to see the world in a different

way and operate in a different
way to get different results.

And so that's the question is
how much, how do we wrestle with

this idea that we're not there to
necessarily just tell the answer?

But we're there to help.

Make the answer.

Obvious and then to get out of our comfort
zone collectively make bold decisions.

Cause that's the only thing.

That's the only thing that's going
to help you get bold outcomes.


It's how do we help clients do that?

This is the dichotomy I
wrestle with all the time.

And, uh, just want to kind of
share it because I think it's a

very important part of what we do.

Uh, when we give advice.

That's all for now.

Talk to you soon.

201. The dichotomy of advice
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