The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Giving and receiving advice

The idea of giving advice is one people cherish. It’s the way a lot of people seek to help others. But the way it is given often develops into an advice trap. That is unsolicited advice that others experience as a way to be told what is right. It’s a clear path for lost time. Neither of both finds a constructive benefit from that sharing.

But advice has a long history of being useful. People seek answers and search for them in multiple ways. The Oracle of Delphi, Dale Carnegie, or Amazon come to mind. Michael Schrage has been researching recommendation engines in this sense, seeing their relationship with advice. It moves far away from the idea of tools to drive sales or marketing gimmicks. Recommendation engines have become the tools that bring us other people’s user experience. In virtual cycles, they are learning from the way they are being used and from the data they are collecting.

With recommendation engines providing us with advice, Michael Schrage is bringing up the question of how we will transform them into a lever for ourselves.

Recommendations and advice are external components of the way we make our choices. It makes advice key to how we make decisions and to how we see ourselves.

Do we seek advice? Are we being asked for advice? How do we react to advice? The way we step into receiving and giving advice transforms our relationships with others.

These choices define who we are and what we become.

The architecture we build around our choice-making should be there to empower us. In a short webinar Michael Schrage shared 5 takeaways worth reflecting on:

Avoid the optimization trap

There is no benefit in searching for the best or the right advice. Sometimes it’s about having one advice that sits well. Sometimes it’s about learning how others do it. Make it about sharing the best choices.

Avoid the compliance trap

Advice is far away from an obligation. It is not there to be followed, it is there to inform your decisions and choices.

Monitor the advice you seek, select, and reject & Monitor who seeks, follows and/or avoids your advice

Monitoring the advice we receive and we give eases not only the relationships we have with others it also allows us to keep track of how advice are being used. May it be by ourselves or by others.

It also is an opportunity to reflect on the type of advice we are seeking and giving. It teaches us more about who we are to others.

What do you want your ‘Advisory Brand’ to be?

This question expands on the self-reflection the other takeaways helped to develop. It is an invitation to use your self-awareness to know and shape how you want to enable better choices.


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