An outside adviser can act as a “third opinion” when your internal people line up behind a single proposition, or help you decide when two or more of your constituencies disagree.
So how do you pick such an important person? Choose someone who:
- Can see all sides of a complex issue.
- Asks probing questions and listens closely to the answers, including what isn’t said. Your adviser’s questions should reveal the truth and potential of a situation, like a prism breaking out the separate colors in a beam of light.
- Doesn’t offer advice reflexively, but waits to be asked and even then puts forward only what feels like solid advice, not a wild stab at the problem.
- Shows integrity in tight spots.
- Brings first-rate expertise and experience related to the kinds of challenges you face.
- Provides a different perspective.
- Can customize solutions, not offer platitudes or off-the-shelf answers.
- Clicks with you intellectually as well as personally.
- Understands your strengths and knows how to leverage them.
- Shows curiosity and empathy.
- Carries no conflicts of interest. Your counselor should never have anagenda that competes with yours.