This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

I’m writing this message from the lobby of a schwanky hotel in Washington DC (my home town), where my colleague Nicolette and I have dedicated a day to writing stuff that supports our respective businesses: weekly tips and blogs for me, and a book for her. This is the result of a pact we made late last year to help each other take time out to do what would otherwise fall by the wayside. We chose the hotel setting thanks to inspiration from my friends at Valuable Content, who advise that writing great content is most likely when we step away from our usual surroundings, and also go somewhere we’ll look forward to.

As I was getting ready to meet Nicolette this morning, it occurred to me that just about every time I’ve made a significant and important change in my life—when I’ve actually followed through on a commitment to do more of what really matters to me—I’ve done it with the help of a buddy.

Which is why I suggest that you having a buddy (or an entourage) is your #1 predictor of personal success in the new year. I believe this is true for whatever you want to accomplish—business or personal, general or trust-related.

My assertion is not supported by a lot of research (at least not any that I have at my fingertips) and maybe “#1” is a reach, I dunno. Based on my own personal experience, it’s spot on.

I also know, from nine years of leading programs on trusted advisorship, trust-based selling, and trust-based consulting, that when it comes to business relationship excellence, making changes in your every-day practices is essential. We all need a certain amount of toughness, perseverance, and support to walk the talk of trusted advisorship. Toward that end, a buddy (or two or three) is an invaluable resource—whether they simply provide a listening for the declarations you make out loud, or play a more active role by checking in with you on your progress or providing feedback on their direct experience of you.

Who’s got your back in the new year?

Make It Real

This week, choose one aspect of your business relationships (or life in general) where you want to make a change. Then consider your best buddy candidates, and reach out to one or more with a request for help. Keep it simple, be clear about your expectations, and be sure to choose someone (or people) you’ll look forward to interacting with.

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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).