Learn to Hear

There is a certain senior executive at a consulting company.  He is well-regarded for his wisdom and sound counsel.  Many come to him for help evaluating ideas and solving problems.

In each case, if he can help, he does.  If he can’t, he tells them quickly so they can seek help elsewhere. 

On one particular instance a man suffering financial difficulties came to him for counsel.  The man outlined his plan for correcting his problem. 

The consultant listened carefully.  He was familiar with this man’s area of business.  He had some ideas that would be of great benefit. 

Something constrained him from speaking.

The consultant thought a moment.  Something was different about this man from the many others he counseled. 

After a moment, he said, “I’m sorry.  I have no advice to give.” 

The man was a bit frustrated.  The consultant wouldn’t budge.  He simply repeated, “I have no advice to give,” and ended the session.

Later, he explained why. 

“I could tell the man wouldn’t listen.  He was set on pursuing the course he’d planned.  If I’d contradicted him, he’d have argued.  If I’d given him advice, he’d have failed anyway and blamed his failure on me.”

Learn to ‘hear’ good advice.  Perhaps more importantly, learn when ‘not’ to give advice.

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