Do You Cultivate Trust?

Do You Cultivate Trust?

By: Beth Schaefer    Director, Institute for Professional Development

A theme of growth

Last week, I attended a seminar by Daryl Connor, Building a High Impact Change Practice.  It was sponsored by the Minnesota Change Network – a great group.  Check them out if you love leading change or have a passion for organizational development.

Mr. Connor presented on what he calls a High Impact Trusted Advisor (HITA). The role of the HITA is to help leaders make informed decisions; it is not about being responsible for leaders’ decisions.

The presentation was in the context of the HITA being a change consultant. His discussion was about criteria that a consultant (either internal or external) could use to determine if they were truly a HITA or if they were more in an operational role, and what actions one should take to become an HITA.

I left the session with much to ponder, and where my pondering led me was that his message applies to a much broader audience than just change consultants or organizational specialists who want to be HITA’s.

Disclaimer: I should be clear here that Mr. Connor may disagree with my observations and conclusions. I encourage you to research Mr. Connor’s theories for yourself.

Instead of thinking about Connor’s questions and whether or not my organization considers me an HITA, I thought more about my leadership style and started wondering if I, as a leader, create the space for HITA’s to flourish? Should all the onus of honing HITA’s be on the advisors themselves? I think not. Organizations should be creating the space for HITA’s to flourish.

What would the question list look like for leaders to evaluate their ability to cultivate HITA’s? This is a list I came up with based on Connor’s presentation:

1. Do I seek input on important decisions?
• Do I take responsibility and make “the call” based on the input, or do I continually spin?
• Do I give credit to my advisors when the call is a good one?
• Do I take the heat when I make the wrong call?

2. Am I open to honest input?
• Do I seek out input from the people who are “experts” or have expertise in areas where I need input?
• Do I provide opportunity for people to build expertise and earn credibility?
• Do I value input that contradicts what I expected to hear or wanted to hear?

3. Do I share information? Note: As always, time and place should always be factored in when sharing information; however, the best advice needs to be given within a context, so as a leader, provide as much context as you are able.
• Do I trust my people with information that provides the whole context?
• Do I try to provide information in a nonbiased manner so that my advisors can offer their unique perspectives?
• Do I share information early enough in the process to take bold recommendations forward?

Mr. Connor finished the presentation by telling HITA’s, “Who You Are is as important as What You Do.” I would say the same would apply to leaders. If you want to be submersed in a culture full of HITA’s, start with evaluating your own character and actions.



Always Be Networking

Always Be Networking

By: Beth Schaefer    Director, Institute for Professional Development

My friend and career coach, Kathryn Johnson, once told me that you should always be networking for your next job – even if you are happy with your current one.  If you are dissatisfied with your current role, then networking is all the more important.

Broaden your idea of networking and consider using these 8 strategies suggested by  These same strategies work even if you wish to move within your organization.  Of course, I am partial to #6 – in addition to learning gaining new skills, it can serve as a great platform for networking – especially for those who prefer a smaller crowd and do not want to “work the room.”

  1. Use your name as your brand, especially in email
  2. Meet an employer’s need
  3. Maintain a smart online profile
  4. Ask for help
  5. Become active in a professional association
  6. Take a class or get a certificate
  7. Take on a new project at work
  8. Be flexible

Some say that standing still is the same as moving backwards.  Do not stand still in your career.  Use these strategies to be constantly cultivating your career options.