I Think You Should...

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Listen here! Look at me when I'm speaking to you! You really should try out what I just suggested to you!

Sound familiar? From others or from yourself? We all just LOVE unsolicited advice, don't we? So much so that we often give it to others ourselves! We need to stop that and ask ourselves this very important question: Do I need to give the advice or does the person need to hear it? See, I just gave you some unsolicited advice there, didn't I?

When I was selling land parcels for investment with Walton International, I happened to inherit some of my former Team Manager's clients. Having been well trained by the Trainers in Walton, I proceeded to follow-up with them, getting to know them better, briefing them on the current status of the land parcels they had invested in, and getting them to share a little more about their financial objectives to see if they were ready invest in some more parcels of land. One of these clients was adamant about not investing any more in Walton land, and insisted on being updated on whether the investments were SOX compliant. Being a total newbie in the financial world, I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, so I said that I would get back to him. He was talking about Sarbanes-Oxley, of course, that typical American legislative over-reaction to acts of perfidy in financial high places. At that point in time, all I could glean was that there was no clear stand, as Walton was a private company, and Canadian, to boot. Walton, of course, would not have been in a hurry to subject itself to the whims and fancies of such a cumbersome and totally unnecessary piece of superfluous legislation. See even my writing is getting superfluous just referring to it! Not surprisingly, he wasn't very happy with my explanation and said that he'd just wait for his land parcel to be sold and collect the proceeds. I left it at that at the time. Now, having garnered a little more experience and hopefully some wisdom, I really should have gotten him  to share with me as to why he was thinking like along those lines. Perhaps I might have heard that he had been adversely affected by the Enrons and Tycos of that time, and might have been able to suggest ways he could have protected his assets better. Then again, perhaps not.

When someone comes up to us and goes "Look here", or "I think you should do this or that", it might be a good idea for us to take a step back and ask ourselves two questions.

1.  Is what he is saying true, right and just?

2.  What are his reasons for telling me this?

That might help us to decide whether or not we even want to entertain that person. It would help us to discern whether he really wants to help or just needs a victim upon whom to indulge in persiflage and bloviation.

So, take a moment to reflect. Have you ever been led to take a course of action you regretted later? Was it because you allowed someone to give you unsolicited advice? Now think of all the times YOU gave some unsolicited advice. What was the effect of your advice on the person you gave it to?

As trainers, we need much wisdom and discernment to see. hear and feel the genuine needs of our clients. Even if you are not a trainer per se, you need wisdom and discernment to serve your clients and customers, too! Are you willing? What will you do now in order to start getting more wisdom and discernment? Share your thoughts!