AdviserEdge Day 1 – Welcome to Failure

Barry 'Baz' Gardner, Founder of The Social Adviser addressing business leaders at Adviser Edge. Image: Janelsa Ouma
Baz Gardner, founder of The Social Adviser addressing business leaders at AdviserEdge. Image: Janelsa Ouma

BY JANELSA OUMA – Guest writer for AdviserEdge 2016

Failure is that bitter and unnerving event when something that should go right goes wrong, and it could result in giving up.

The Miriam Webster Dictionary defines failure as:

“omission of occurrence or performance; specifically:  a failing to perform a duty or expected action.”

So when Social Business Coach, Michael Back said your first steps in your business should ‘help you fail so you can succeed,’ to an auditorium full of ambitious employers and employees, no doubt a couple of eyebrows were raised. With these not so comforting words, founder of The Social Adviser, Baz Gardner was ushered onto the stage.

With only the headline as a premeditated script, Baz admitted for his keynote speech that he had scrapped his speech at the last minute and would be ‘speaking from the heart’ to the crowd of several hundred Professionals.

Wait. What? First, business ventures should look forward to failing and second, the CEO does a speech without notes. What happened to the structure, formality and the ‘i’ dotting and the ‘t’ crossing of the corporate world?

Simple. People. The ‘people’ aspect was missing.

Where businesses fail

Businesses fail where they neglect to see the importance of the client as a human and become a faceless entity whose pitches often go ignored in a inbox. They expect a return on investment (ROI) when little has been invested in the first place. They give little for free and push for larger returns.

A business needs to do the complete opposite. Yes. Give first and you shall receive.

The heart of your drive

Baz’s passion is “to help the people of the world, to be themselves.” This is what drives the Social Adviser and is the underlying principle behind what they do . So how does a business go about ‘helping’ people and see an ROI? By building their clients’ trust. However, trust requires an established relationship that benefits both parties to reach a common goal and positive results. So how does a business establish this trust? By accessing and sharing their value.


To value a person is to recognise their worth, however big or small it may appear. Everyone can contribute in valuing each other. Well this has nothing to do with business one might say. Oh but it does! When a client understands that your business values them, they are more inclined to initiate and nurture a relationship of trust with you. To recognise the value of a client involves caring. We don’t mean to ‘wine and dine’ them for a night so they feel obliged to invest with you. No. Show that business is worth more than just signing on the dotted line and is all about having a beating heart that wants to help its clients to breathe. This is what is called ‘vulnerability’. A business with an authentic face, backed by a valued and committed team.

The business’ role is to have the courage to climb over the wall of fearing failure that stands between you and your client, knowing that you are worth more than you know and can do better with every obstacle. Be personal and approachable.

With value, you earn the right to ask your client for more.

Bottom line:

According to Baz, the bottom line is “authentic vulnerability; value and attention is where trust comes from”. As underestimated as this statement is, it doesn’t mean its less true. Be yourself.

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