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Giving Good Advice

Posted on Dec 10, 2013 by in Leadership | 0 comments

Giving good advice – simple right – ha – it is hard.  You know what they say, “everyone knows what you should be doing, even if they aren’t”.  More and more I find myself in a position of providing “advice and guidance”.  As I have worked to transition from a “doer” to a “leader”, I increasingly find myself giving good advice to great leaders.  I know what you are thinking, “how does he know if he is giving good advice”?  Great question: so let the blog begin.


Whether it is in my operational role as CEO of WhatCounts or as an investor and advisor to other companies — I’m in more meetings where people aren’t asking me to solve a problem, they are hoping I’m “giving good advice” that informs the decisions they will ultimately make and own.

How to Give Great Advice:

– Only Give Advice When Asked

– Offer Information About Options

– Help Think Through the Problem

– Express Confidence in Their Judgement

This is a great list.  Today I spent time with a large ($100M+ Retailer) that is thinking through a host of opportunities – what was hard – it is an awesome business and has lots of good growth options – the big challenge – which option will be a “great growth option”.  Imagine you are in a room full of smart, talented, dedicated, accomplished leaders, and you are suppose to be “giving good advice” – got that picture in your head yet – ok – that’s right, it is really hard.  Why so hard, because, we are humans, our natural tendency is to start throwing out all kinds of ideas that make “us sound smart”.  Sounding smart has “zero” to do with giving good advice.  As the list says, give advice when asked, offer up options, challenge the thinking around the problem, and always finish by confidently deferring the decision back to the leaders.  Did I do this today?  I think so.


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