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Little Find

You can keep your advice!

Do you like helping others? We tend to feel more useful giving others our suggestions rather than simply listening. Why then is our “excellent” advice so rarely put to use?

According to Michael Bungay Stanier, our advice often isn’t followed for three main reasons:

1) We jump on solving the first problem we hear and, in our haste, fail to see the real problem.

2) The solution we offer is not as brilliant as we think.

3) We drain everyone’s energy — our own, first and foremost — in our desire to intervene at every opportunity and contribute our sacrosanct “added value.”

Such acts of advice-giving do not really help the other person and actually prevents us from being truly helpful and making progress on what counts.

You may find it hard to apply Michael Bungay Stanier’s simple advice for avoiding these 3

traps, but it’s worth taking the time required. Before proposing your solution – no matter what!– ask questions, seek to identify what the real problem is, and, above all, ask the other person what he or she is thinking of doing. They probably already have ideas that could give you a good starting point.

In the end, you may not even need to give your opinion, but everyone will come out better for the exchange nonetheless. Give your savior complex a rest!


To go further: “3 reasons why people don’t take your advice” by Stephanie Vozza (Fast Company, 15 January 2020)


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She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.