Secrets to Getting Great Advice

Honest, trustworthy, insightful advice comes hard.

Some tell you what you want to hear others tell you what they need to say. How can you dig through a cacophony of voices and find great advice?

Which advisor:

Options or insights matter. When you’re seeking options go to someone who’s been there. When you need insight go to someone who sees.

Options come from those who listen and make suggestions. Insights come from those who listen and say it back in new ways.

Experience matters more when you’re seeking options. Curiosity matters more when you need insights.

Which style:

Some advisors talk more; the ones with unique experiences. They have answers. Other advisors listen more; the ones who clarify issues and provide insights. They help you find answers.

Options come when they speak more. Insights come when you speak more.

Which category:

What type of advice are you seeking? Is it strategic or visionary? Are you working on execution or policies? Do you need insight into relationships? Categories determine advisors.

Which questions:

Right questions elicit great advice.

Know yourself and your organization before asking “Why.” Why questions are toughest because they’re rooted in values. If you don’t know your values you’ll take the wrong advice, even when it’s good.

Ask more “what” and “how” questions, lots more. Experience shows that “why” questions frequently distract unless you’re seeking the root of a problem.

“What” and “how” questions create light-bulb-moments.

How can leaders find great advice?

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