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Trusted Advisor

A comrade at work told me about the concept of "Trusted Advisor" which he had encountered in a recent two-day corporate-leadership seminar. A trusted advisor is honest, dependable, responsible, and objective. And there's a "Trust Equation" that the authors of The Trusted Advisor (David H. Maister, Charles H Green, and Robert M. Galford) propose:

trustworthiness = (credibility + reliability + intimacy) / self-orientation

(Hmmm, so total Zen-like selflessness produces infinite trustworthiness, as long as the sum of the other three terms is nonzero? Maybe I take equations too literally!)

Note the word "intimacy" there, a delicate term that co-author Green analyzes on in a fascinating essay "Intimacy: If You can't Say the I-Word, You Have the I-Problem". He describes consulting for organizations who, "... are uncomfortable using the word 'intimacy' in a business context. They'd prefer something a little more, you know – business-ey. Intimacy, they feel, is, you know, that other stuff ... not appropriate ... uncomfortable ... you know ...". Green analyzes the real problem that fear of the word "intimacy" symptomizes: an attitude toward customers, colleagues, employees, et al. that sees them as abstractions rather than human beings. Serious stuff, and worth thinking about.

^z - 2012-12-23

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