Last week we had the opportunity to lead a socially distanced live training in the beautiful city of Nashville, TN. Honestly, it was great to be interacting in a live setting once again.
On our first day of training, I had the opportunity to have lunch and dinner with some of our client team members. At one point the conversation moved toward how this Thanksgiving will look different from most that we have seen in our lifetimes, yet there is much to be thankful for, even in the madness of 2020. As we shared stories about our personal and professional lives, we found a common theme of adoption at our table. Immediately, I felt the call to share a part of my story.
At Braintrust, we train people worldwide about the concept of being a “trusted advisor” to our clients. I have taken some time to ponder exactly what makes a “trusted advisor”? My sincere hope that a part of my story will help you think about the importance of these two simple yet powerful words in your personal and professional life. To do this, I’m going to take you back to over fifteen years ago.
My wife Amy and I are blessed with three children. Our youngest daughter Kayla is our angel from China. Kayla came home with us when she was only 17 months old and is now a beautiful 14-year-old eighth-grader. When we started the adoption process, Amy and I needed to choose an agency representing us in this three-year maze of paperwork, shifting timelines, and seemingly constant setbacks. We needed a trusted advisor!
The incredible journey of adoption and the fire ignited in our hearts came after attending a Steven Curtis Chapman concert (thank you, Steven). We watched a life-changing video at intermission by The Show Hope Foundation (www.showhope.org) about the state of orphans around the world, and the seed was planted. (I recently read on the back2back ministries website that there are 163,000,000 orphans in the world. Back2Back is a fantastic organization, and more information can be found at www.back2back.org.)
As we drove home from the concert that evening, I’ll never forget our oldest daughter Abby sitting in the back seat as she said, “We should do that.” Amy and I smiled and told her to go back to sleep. About six months later, we were sitting on the couch in our family room when Amy proclaimed almost out of nowhere, “I’ve never felt more called by God to do what I’m about to tell you.” As a husband, I had no idea where this was going to go. I then joked and asked if she was leaving me! Her eyes filled with tears as she said we should adopt a daughter from China. After literally less than five minutes of conversation, we were all in, and the process was started the next day. As Show Hope says, “it only takes a spark.”
Once we decided to move forward, we knew this journey was impossible to do alone. We needed a trusted advisor to serve as our guide on the journey. After doing our research, we eventually decided to work with the agency America World (AW) out of Virginia (www.awaa.org.) The people at America World and their values aligned with ours, and we knew they had the heart to serve us along with being experts at what they do. (Also, it didn’t hurt that Steven Curtis Chapman referred them.) We immediately aligned with
- their vision of “building families according to God’s design of adoption, while caring for vulnerable children around the world.”
- their mission of “every adoptable orphan to be placed in a Christian home.”
It was evident that AW was there to serve us while helping us solve any problems that would come up along the way, and there were many! They promised to be with us every step of the way, and they were a part of our dreams of bringing our baby girl home.
Here is what made them so great as trusted advisors for us. They weren’t transactional, fact-based, self-focused, self-serving, or aggressive. They were able to establish personal and professional trust. In their approach, they reduced many moments of stress and anxiety while we processed the maze of social workers, the Chinese system, and dossier preparation. They also helped us in the quiet, when time just passed, and we were getting no information. The actual process was supposed to take six months, and it lasted over three years. The adoption process wasn’t easy, but America World served as our GUIDE/SAGE/COACH through the process, and the story couldn’t have ended better. In the end, there is no doubt that every day mattered, and we were matched with our daughter at the perfect time, exactly as it was supposed to be. We couldn’t have done it without them.
As you go into the Thanksgiving holiday and reflect on your families and customers, the question is this – are you a trusted advisor for the people in your life story? To help you out, I made a small list of “Secrets of being a trusted advisor” that might provide you with something to think about during the Thanksgiving week.
- Serve your customers
- Solve their problems
- Solutions that make them the hero
- Story (be invested in their journey)
- Stick through the ups and downs
- Situational awareness (meet them where they are)
- Show hope
At Braintrust, we are so thankful for those of you that read our blogs, listen to our podcasts, and trust us with your business. We never take it for granted and genuinely hope that we are a trusted advisor to you in all we do.
Once more in case you “felt a spark”: For more information on how you can help and/or give back, check out the Show Hope website @ www.showhope.org.