Imagine not feeling well and going to the doctor to get things checked out. The doctor looks you over and tells you there’s nothing to worry about. The problem persists for several months, followed by several visits. Each visit finishes with the same response until one day you are so sick and weak you now are taken by ambulance to the emergency room. After a battery of tests the ER doctor comes into the room and tells you that you have been diagnosed with late stage cancer and you are probably weeks away from death. Sad, fearful, and angry you call your regular physician and ask him why he didn’t catch this. His response to you is shocking. “I didn’t tell you because I was worried you couldn’t afford the treatment.”
Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. First of all, this is an example. I know a lot of doctors and they would never put the welfare of their patients in jeopardy. Nobody in their right minds could believe a doctor would do such a thing. What about businesses?
I take a great deal of pride in the work I do for my clients as well as those contacts who aren’t. I have the strong belief that my role is to do what is right for the people and the business. Because of this I may tell people things they don’t want to hear. Some cases I have lost projects because of it. Yet in most situations that is what gets me hired. I tell leaders what they need to know. If I am not the right resource I refer them to the proper professionals that can help them out. While I am conscious of the client’s situation, I recommend the action they need to take and leave it up to the referral to see if they can help. After all, if someone has a cancer in their business, I do not want to be the one who didn’t warn them.
So why do I bring this up? My rant begins with a conversation that took place with a service provider who was talking to me about referrals. To be clear, this was not a situation where i was asking him for referrals, but more of a discussion about the practice. He said he was often aware of needs that his clients had, but was reluctant to refer to outside professionals because of what they might think. Like the analogy of the doctor, he knows his clients have issues that could prove costly, yet he fails to act out of fear that they will balk at the idea or that they are unwilling to pay for outside help. The difference here is there is no perceived malpractice.
I do not say these things because I desire more regulations or outside intervention. I merely wish to bring up a point. As a professional, you owe it to your clients and colleagues to help them be successful. If relationships are built on a foundation of trust, I believe your clients and others in your professional circle will value what you have to say. If you are concerned about it you may need to do a gut check on how solid your relationship is. My clients are successful because they are told things they don’t want to hear, but NEED to hear. Because of this, many of these people are experiencing substantial growth when other businesses are struggling to make ends meet. They set goals and act deliberately while their competition worries and unfocused action. Many of my clients are building and expanding while others are shrinking. All of my clients are through referrals. In other words, they came to me because someone had the courage to say there is help available.
Whether you are a banker, accountant, marketer or even a coach, your actions towards your clients speaks volumes about your values. That is why as professionals we build relationships of trust with other service providers. We may not be doctors, but we do need to hold ourselves to a higher standard. It is how we will grow and innovate. So go out and build those relationships, check backgrounds, research and build your circle of professionals. When you help a business grow, not only do you help that business, you help create jobs, and strengthen our economy. Not to mention you have strengthened a relationship that will pay you back ten fold over time. Be courageous, build trust, and create growth.