Is There Someone In Your Life Who Tells You Your Zipper Is Down?

A "consigliere" is "an adviser or counselor, especially to a mafia boss. The consigliere is a close, trusted friend and confidant."

Do you have this kind of person in your life? Do you have someone who will tell you your zipper is down?

A true consigliere seems to have these two qualities:

1. No agenda. This is why your parents don’t count, nor do your subordinates or superiors. People in your life who have their own agenda (try as they might to keep it independent from you) cannot be a close confidant.

2. Close but not too close. The person needs to know what’s happening in your life. But your success can’t affect his or her successes. Your actions can’t directly impact his life. This probably elimiantes people in your immediate family, people in your company, people in your industry. All these kind of people are too often the direct recipient of your actions.

In the cutthroat business world, where everybody is trying to get ahead, it can be difficult to find someone who meets these two criteria. Maybe that’s why they say the job of CEO — surrounded by power-hungry yes-men — is one of the loneliest.

Do you have a trusted advisor who can cheer on your success and offer wise counsel without becoming too involved so as to develop his own self-interested agenda?

(Hat tip to Kai Chang for this idea)

3 Responses to Is There Someone In Your Life Who Tells You Your Zipper Is Down?

  1. kai chang says:

    The piece I mentioned on the topic was originally written here:

    link to pjammer.livejournal.com

    as part of the ’16 Essential People in Your Life” sequence, here:

    link to pjammer.livejournal.com

    Great seeing you today … I’ll send you an email later tomorrow recapping some stuff. You should have come out to the STIRR mixer … Ramit was there, among other interesting folk! :)

  2. Aaron Potts says:

    This is definitely a tough one to work through because the closest people will always have an agenda – for you, or for themselves.

    A possible solution is a mastermind group. I’m a member of a 3-person group and I feel like I could tell either of my partners anything because we set up our group so that we are not in competing arenas.

    Not quite the same as having your own personal consigliere, but not a bad solution. :)

  3. Greg says:

    I’m involved on the board of a mentor group here in NY that’s organized by a local tech trade group called LISTnet. It pairs about 10 fledgling entrepreneurs with very successful entrepreneurs. Everyone signs the same stock mutual NDA and there’s no monetary or equity compensation for the mentors. My mentor’s the CEO of a successful VOIP startup. Even though he’s in a totally different industry than me (or, perhaps, precisely because of that), I’ve found the experience extremely valuable.

    Hopefully we’ll get some materials about this program on the web soon so it can be duplicated elsewhere.

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