We have not overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down for the divine right of experts (Harold Macmillan)
You might have read the title to this article and thought: “Hang on, how can contradicting advice ever be good?”
The definition of “contradictory” is that two or more facts or pieces of advice are very different from each other.
Having access to a range of different perspectives and opinions, which can sometimes be opposing, can certainly lead to some benefits. We’ve seen that this summer, as Gareth Southgate led the most successful England men’s side for over 50 years. He is part of an advisory board from professionals across the whole of sport, not just football.
Plus, throughout the pandemic, the government have sought to justify their decisions by asserting that they are simply “following the science”. They are following the advice of SAGE, a group of scientists and other specialists.
Would the government have acted differently over the last 18 months if they had chosen to take advantage of the wide variety of expertise, experience and opinion that is available to them?
Running a business can be difficult and lonely, but during a pandemic, it’s been even harder. In an environment where the rules are changed arbitrarily and at short notice, it has proved nigh on impossible for many. In such challenging times, having access to relevant support and advice can make the difference between success and failure.
Of course, there is no shortage of advice available to business owners:
- Business consultants
- Business coaches and mentors
- Meet People at Networking Events
- Online Business Guides & Forums
However, do you ever find that the advice there can be one-dimensional? It’s all earnest and well-intentioned but is only delivered from their own singular perspective.
It is rare to find a consultant who has personally experienced the unique challenges that come with business ownership.
In contrast, business owners who sit around advisory boards get a wide variety of advice. Sometimes, it can be contradictory. You might initially think this could be confusing, and it can be if not managed well, but there are benefits business owners can glean from conflicting perspectives.
Benefit 1: Contradictory Advice Provides a Range of Ideas
Leaders often come away from our advisory boards with two or three ideas to address their most pressing challenges. Consequently, they then can choose the best way forward for them and their business.
Listen to Hywel Parry talk about why he joined an advisory board.
“I was drawn to TAB because of the ability to broaden my horizons and to engage with local business owners to get a different perspective on the business.”
Benefit 2: Making Better Business Decisions
Being provoked into considering problems from a range of perspectives and receiving sometimes contradictory advice empowers those with responsibility. It enables them to make better quality decisions for everyone concerned.
Here is Neil Foster from Force Engineering talking about why an advisory board gave him greater confidence in his business decisions:
“Being able to discuss those problems and challenges with peers, and get their feedback on my ideas and thoughts, and to utilise some of their best practice means I get a wider understanding and knowledge of how to operate a business successfully.”
Benefit 3: Enabling Business Growth
Once a business owner has received contradictory advice, which has helped them make better decisions, they will see a positive impact on their business growth.
That was certainly Mike Hodge’s experience of being part of an advisory board:
“As we take on the challenge of growing, it was clear we needed access to other types of services out there…marketing, sales etc.”
Previously, Mike would have turned to Google for this sort of advice, but as a TAB member, he found he could ask the board for recommendations.
“I have been introduced to many, many people whose expertise are in those exact disciplines. What that’s allowed me to do is concentrate on what I’m good at.”
During the process, Mike will have been exposed to different professionals with different points of views. Yet, having access to all of them has reaped real benefits for him and his business.
A business coach can also be a helping hand here. Once the leader has gathered all the different opinions, a coach can help them work through the best options for them.
So, there are benefits to contradictory advice:
- Providing a range of ideas
- Making better business decisions
- Enabling business growth
Are you ready to take advice from a range of diverse perspectives? An advisory board could be for you, find out more about our business support services.