Why your very good advice doesn’t get taken

Andrea Howe
Category : Weekly tips February 2, 2015

This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

I just looked back at the 33 weekly tips that we’ve shared over the past six months only to realize I’ve written shockingly little about the dynamics of influence. Time to fix that!

In my workshops on trusted advisorship and trust-based selling, I often ask participants to indicate, by a show of hands, who has ever had the experience of giving good advice only to have it not be taken. Invariably, nearly all the hands in the room go up.

Looking at your own experience, this may even happen to you on a regular basis—especially if you have teenagers at home.

The question is, why does this happen? You’re very confident about your advice; you know the right thing to do on a given issue. Let’s even say that you are, in fact, right. You advise your client or colleague or direct report (or kid) to do the right thing, and … with apparent disregard for all things logical, he chooses another option.

That’s because trust and influence go hand in hand. The more someone trusts you, the more likely he is to be influenced by you. The less someone trusts you, the less likely he is to be influenced by you. So hands go up more often than not for one simple reason: trust is missing or compromised. And the onus is on you—not them—to do something about that.

In the business of advice-giving, it is not enough to be right—you have to earn the right to be right.

Make It Real

This week, learn from your role models.

Bring to mind someone whom you consider remarkably influential—someone who succeeds at getting the best result for all parties while cultivating a strong relationship in the process. What makes this person so effective? What does she think, say, or do? Then, look inward. In what ways do you consistently apply the same best practices your role model applies? What opportunities do you see to improve your ability to be influential?

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Andrea Howe

Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).

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