For the Fast Track book club, this year we read The Trusted Advisor. Even though we may have taken a little longer to go through the book than intended, we learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way. We learned that if you stretch out one book longer than 6 months then everyone gets really cranky and you tend to find more criticism about a book than in the beginning. However, I also learned that even though the examples in this book were not always rock-solid, my fellow associates had wonderful examples to share, which made each session more enjoyable.

As someone who absolutely loves lists and will make several lists when preparing for something to organize her thoughts, I was really excited to read The Trusted Advisor. Almost all of the chapters have some kind of list, aside from a few chapters that broke my heart, but I have since gotten over it and moved on. According to the authors, “The theme of this book is that the key to professional success is not just technical mastery of one’s discipline (which is, of course, essential), but also the quality to work with clients in such a way as to earn their trust and gain their confidence.” The authors provide “a new understanding of the importance and potential of trust relationships with clients, and show how trust can be employed to achieve a wide range of rewards. We examine trust as a process, which has beginnings and endings, which can be derailed and encouraged, and which take place across time and experience. We analyze the key components of trust and the process which trust involves in a relationship.”

Overall, the authors of this book explain HOW to achieve trust and then sustain the trust of everyone with whom we do business. And here’s the key point: It is imperative that clients trust our advice as they consider being in business with us but, ultimately, our clients must have so much confidence in us that they will also seek our advice on other matters which have nothing to do with what we sell. So-called “customer satisfaction” is achieved on a per-transaction basis. Our clients have lots of choices. It is not enough for them to just trust what we are offering because there are other consulting firms that might be offering the same service. We should really care for our clients and build strong relationship even after we have completed our services because the role of trusted advisor does not end when a project ends.

So in the end, I would really recommend everyone to read The Trusted Advisor and remember to read it within a few months.