Advice & Counsel: Balanced Advice Networks
The wise leader will accept advice if it will help him succeed. But, it is not always apparent how to choose from the large number of outside advisers available or whom to count on inside. What is most important to look for?
- Experience: Someone who has gone through the sort of change the leader is experiencing and has seen firsthand many others.
- Depth: Someone who has thought deeply about the challenges involved.
- Chemistry: Because if the key players cannot comfortably relate to an adviser, the most expert help is not useful.
- Objectivity: A third party with no agenda other than the leader's success.
The leader's advice network should also include employees who have a stake in success and who can add practical advice to the problems affecting them. But unless the leader thinks of them as valuable sources of advice, their help will go untapped. Also, certain board members should have an advice-giving responsibility in addition to their oversight role, and be elected based on their ability to do so.
The wise leader also will ensure that he has a network of advisers, each offering help in areas important to his success. Advice & counsel should mirror the major types of challenges leaders face: strategic, operational, political, and personal.
Also, the leader should take advantage of different kinds of advisers: experts who have delved deeply into a particular topic, experienced advisers who have themselves faced the issues the leader is confronting, sounding boards to whom the leader can confidently turn, and partner advisers who sign on to help the leader for a concentrated period of time. The ideal network will combine the right type of advice offered by the kinds of advisers best suited to the leader's situation & style.
Dan Ciampa has pioneered the notion that great advice taking is an under appreciated leadership skill. He has developed new ways of thinking about the art of getting the most from help and provided the only framework to do so for the leader.