Deb has been most successful in her roles as consigliere (Italian consigliere "counselor", pronounced [konsiʎˈʎɛːre], roughly kohn-seel-YEHR-eh) - a position within the leadership structure. The word was popularized by the novel The Godfather (1969), and its film adaptation. In the novel, a consigliere is an adviser or counselor to the boss, with the additional responsibility of representing the boss in important meetings both within the boss's crime family and with other crime families. The consigliere is a close, trusted friend and confidant, the mob's version of an elder statesman. In some depictions, he is devoid of ambition and dispenses disinterested advice. This passive image of the consigliere does not correspond with what little is known of real-life consiglieri, however. By the very nature of the job, a consigliere is one of the few in the family who can argue with the boss, and is often tasked with challenging the boss when needed to ensure subsequent plans are foolproof.
Why does my company or project need a consigliere? Well, another name that is a little more well known would be business or professional coach.
A consigliere or business coach can:
* help raise your perspective up to 32,000 ft so that you can see the forest instead of just the trees;
* motivate you to run more laps, push beyond the burn, make each round of the course easier and more efficient;
* tell it like it is - not just what you want to hear;
* give you small pointers based on years of experience - take the opportunity to learn from the battle scars earned with gratitude:
* listen - above all, being heard is critical to moving forward;
* can help you develop long-term plans that will allow you and your business to function more efficiently and to be all that you have envisioned it to be.
Your consigliere/business coach can be your marketing manager, your sales director, your training coordinator, your HR manager, your partner, your confidant, your business mentor, your best friend..... and, ultimately, be there to help you make your dream(s) come true.
When you need someone who is part of a project but not the driving creative force, when your organization needs someone to work to lever the work of a team of mad scientists, brilliant designers and hardworking frontline ambassadors, consider bringing on a key member of the team that demonstrates a blend of three roles:
Generous skeptic: When the new idea is on the table, when things are being discussed, hashed out and workshopped, the consigliere is able to ask the useful and difficult questions? Someone needs to be the trusted critic, asking not with fear, but with confidence. The consigliere questions are useful when they expose the truth, not when it helps a client hide.
Shameless cheerleader: Once the work is done and ready for market, the consigliere's job is to stand fully behind it, far more than even those that actively created it. This might be hard work, but it's incredibly valuable work. If you can't own it, don't start it.
Fierce advocate: And now that it's launched, the consigliere puts themself on the line for the change we're out to make in the world. The relentless push to make the change we seek is a key part of why the consigliere is here.
These three elements, taken together, define the consigliere who can add extraordinary value to a project, to a leader, to a team. They are the opposite of "tell me what to do," combined with, "stand with me as we take on the market."