When I'm on stand in court testimony I find the contradiction of my background to some is an opportunity for levity. The combination suggests I might be able to deal with large figures; however, must remove my shoes and socks if the result is above ten digits. This modest approach connects with the jury as while my background might be formidable, I don't take myself too seriously. No ego.
Another leadership trait I learned in the military, as a corporate executive and entrepreneur is the notion of "skin in the game". There is a significant difference between administrating, supervising, managing and leading. If one is to lead, they must respect how to follow. Further, they must be willing to sacrifice for the greater good when it's not convenient to do so. Putting others first as a servant-leader is not naturally hard-wired even with service providers; yet, real value is garnered by others when we are willing to sacrifice.
This raises issues about authenticity and leadership. As professional service providers, we're often searching to find who needs our services in context of a client challenge. This is akin to the belief, "when you're a carpenter with a hammer everything looks like a nail." Juxtapose the issue to "what is this person looking for and if I'm not the right fit, can I source the provider who is?" The latter mindset is one of a concierge. A concierge versus a technician not only gets a seat at the desired table, but by solving an issue even when it does not immediately benefit the expenditure, earns the right to sit on the same side of the table as the party requesting assistance. Now that is the type of leadership that builds deeper relationships and referrals.
Yet, nothing bruises self-confidence like a dose of reality. It's hard to be a trusted advisor. Love the work. Usually like the clients. So-so on those advisors who jockey-around protecting their "turf" and seek justification of my worth and theirs like jackals at a watering hole on the Serengeti. My jugular gets exposed.
Like literally millions of professionals before me, we studied hard and worked harder to get to a career zenith. Yet, like drivers who are asked about the quality of their skills, we can't all be great.... the auto insurance industry claims prove otherwise. Working hard enough to make a good living is not the same thing as making a measurable difference - the latter is exceptionalism. Yet, a livelihood and a life well-lead are often seen as one and the same.
The blocking and tackling between fellow solutions providers about fees or commissions for service - year over year - has suggested few see the value they bring (myself included) much less value others offer, which seldom has anything to do with what they charge. Even if Equity Value Enhancement's ("EVE") 35 years of jaw-dropping experiences had thousands or millions of dollars worth of insights would the $85 list price have anything to do with its value? (Under one's breath being "who has the time to read the thing.... business as usual....")
While I enjoy what I do, I am passionate about three things: being a steward/"consigliore" ("chief-of-staff") to align and leverage professionals' knowledge and relationships; being well-compensated for my strategy, risk management and value creation advisory services; and, spending time with four-legged animals and down-to-earth, two-legged folks outdoors away from the rat paths many follow to and from home and work and places to dine and shop.
So, the above sharing is to demonstrate one of hundreds of points within EVE, which is much more than financial engineering and reporting. Rather, it is about the nexus of financial and human capital.
As an example, while a conversation starter is often what you do, where you live/grew up or where you were educated... many see this as a way to determine social pecking order. An alternative might be "How did you come to do what you do for a livelihood? If you weren't doing this, what career path might you have selected?" And, the ubiquitous "what keeps you up at night?" might be replaced by "What excites you about what you do? What is your top challenge or opportunity (might receive a personal or business reply)?"
The point above is one path tends to be a "transactional" mindset. The other tends to be relationship oriented. The latter focus is on who one is as a person versus what they do for a living and are they a viable client.
While I'm not beneath pandering to sell EVE, I'm much more interested in personal and professional relationships that provide a win for clients, those with whom I collaborate and puts a dent in my student loan balance.
So, my jugular is exposed. What say you?