I worked for a food manufacturer one time. For me this was almost a dream job because I love food and come from a family who loved food. But one day my boss called me into his office to give me bad news. He would be retrenched and so would about 100 others from various companies functions. I was included in that number.
Suddenly I was in shock. My world was upside down. Let’s face it, most people rely on a salary to support themselves and their family. In a few days that would be gone. I had two children under five to support.
It was with a deep sense of betrayal that I tried to cope emotionally. In a few moments the world I had known was gone. The future I had seen had disappeared. I felt utterly and totally alone.
All personnel could advise was on their pay and pension payout. All they had to offer was transactional. Even the reasons for 100 retrenchments was not properly explained. The relationship we all thought we had with the company was shattered.
In a life-changing situation like this who would you turn to? Who would be your trusted adviser?
I told a retired salesperson about what had happened to me. We were working together on a local community project at the time. He had a long chat to me. I can’t remember all that he told me but his supportive, understanding and caring approach still stands out. I needed a helping hand in my time of greatest need and he stretched out his hand to me.
In the course of time things worked out all right. I came up with ideas, however flimsy in the beginning, started small enterprises, repositioned myself for work. Out of the blue I had a meeting with two business people who extended a lifeline to another food manufacturing operation.
David Maister, Charles Green and Robert Galford in their business classic “The Trusted Adviser” say that trust rarely develops instantly, except in the face of powerful experience. Trust, they say, is personal. “We don’t trust institutions. We don’t trust processes. We trust people.”
Expertise is like love, they say. It’s unlimited and you can destroy it by not giving it away. “It cannot be scanned into a data base; rather, it is the uniquely human ability to redefine a problem and come up with creative solutions for solving it.”
Where will you find a business adviser when you face a challenge or sudden crisis? Your knowing that one person could make a difference between failure or a creative solution that leads to success.