The Advanced Trusted Advisor (ATA) program is designed for experienced practitioners who wish to be viewed as strategic, invaluable resources by the senior officers of the organizations they serve. In this program, participants will identify, refine, and strengthen their ability to:
- Successfully navigate the dynamics and pitfalls of establishing the proper rapport with senior officers
- Engage in sophisticated interpersonal communications and relationship-building
- Understand how deep influence unfolds with leaders at the top level
- Function as a strategic partner, rather than as a tactical vendor
- Rapidly establish trust with executives who may be leery of internal or external change practitioners
- Deliver information, perspectives, and recommendations that may make leaders uncomfortable in such a way that they are able to recognize, appreciate, and act on the truth of what is being said
This is not a course of study for those new to the change field who are still building their basic foundation of concepts, tools, and techniques. The program serves two types of seasoned change practitioners: those who are already serving top executives and want to strengthen their ability to establish and maintain the necessary leader rapport, and experienced change practitioners who aspire to one day work as a high-impact trusted advisor with C-suite officers and other senior leaders.
Developing Trusted Advisors for the Next Level
Leaders responsible for implementing significant change in their organization need access to experienced advisors who can guide them through the pitfalls of executing these major initiatives. This role, termed “change practitioner,” is filled by professionals from a wide array of disciplines including change management, organizational development, HR, strategic planning, project management, IT, business relationship management, coaching, organizational design, and more. No matter their field of expertise, whether they function as internal specialists or external consultants, of if they work solo or as part of a team, if individuals help leaders navigate important transitions, they are considered change practitioners.
High Impact Trusted Advisors (HITAs) are change practitioners who provide this kind of support to senior leaders. Some serve at the C-suite level (CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, CHROs, etc.), and some support key leaders below the top echelon, but all are advising executives with either enterprise-wide or major functional/geographic responsibilities.
HITAs have extraordinary access to and influence with these top executives. They are considered strategic, invaluable resources, and their views are sought out when key initiatives come with significant risk and the price for a misstep could be costly. They enjoy such respect from the leaders they serve that their counsel is regarded as a competitive advantage for the organization.
Being Fully Prepared
When change practitioners are first given a chance to support senior officers, many fail to achieve the coveted HITA status. Their initial attempts at trying to serve in this role are not well received by the leader, and they aren’t invited back.
Typically, the problem isn’t one of not knowing what to address, misdiagnosing the situation at hand, or offering ill-conceived recommendations; most practitioners who are able to gain access to senior leaders are prepared to support them as far as the concepts, tools, and techniques to use. Where they fall short is knowing how to establish and maintain the rapport needed to create an exceptionally influential relationship.
When it comes to forming deep interpersonal bonds with top officers, there are certain dynamics at play that HITAs must attend to, particularly those underlying forces that either foster or hinder the practitioner’s ability to establish extraordinary influence. Senior officers operate in spaces that present unique challenges. Without specific preparation for the kinds of difficulties that can affect relationship building at this level, change practitioners are likely to fall short of becoming the leader’s confidante regarding important change endeavors. This relationship is the key; the depth of the connection between leader and practitioner isn’t based on the content of the guidance being provided—it depends on the nature of the relationship within which the guidance is conveyed.
Areas of Focus
This program addresses the fundamentals of functioning as a HITA to key executives. Primary topic areas include:
Attributes—Characteristics that differentiate HITA relationships from other types of interactions with top executives
Success Factors—Conditions that must be in place in order for the HITA relationship to emerge and flourish
Underlying Processes—Forces operating beneath the surface that either enhance or detract from forming deep, trusting relationships with senior leaders
Necessary Mindsets—Practitioner frames of reference and priorities that have a bearing on one’s ability to successfully serve in the HITA role
Expectations—Guidelines and processes to help establish a clear and explicit understanding of what the practitioner and leader should expect from one another in a successful advisory relationship
Pitfalls—Common challenges, entanglements, and dilemmas that can prevent, strain, and even sever the desired rapport
Self-Management—Perspectives and practices that cultivate the internal grounding practitioners need to serve as HITAs to senior executives
Preparation Phase—Approximately four weeks prior to the first workshop session, participants receive their initial assignment, which is comprised of extensive readings and questions to consider (nothing written is turned in).
Workshop Sessions—The three workshop days are full (approximately 8 hours in length, including an hour for lunch and several short breaks) and are scheduled one week apart (typically on consecutive Fridays).
Re-entry Activities—Three virtual cohort meetings (90 minutes each, scheduled a week apart) follow the completion of the final workshop session. Prior to each cohort meeting, participants have a 60-minute call with another member of the cohort to discuss an assignment that was provided.
Spring of 2021
- Phase I (workshop sessions) —May 7,14 and 21, 2021 (10:00AM-6:00PM ET each day)
- Phase II (re-entry activities)—Individual assignments, preparation calls with other participants and three 90-minute virtual meetings with the full cohort (this phase runs throughout most of most of June 2021)
Virtual learning platform
Change practitioners ready to advance down the mastery path and delve into how they can more effectively serve as an advanced trusted advisor are invited to join us in Spring 2021 by completing this registration form: Spring 2021 Registration Form