Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Disagreement in a Multitude of Counselors

Over the past few months, I've been focused on expanding my advisory team and, more recently, getting their input on our company's expansion plan. The extent to which these highly successful and very busy men have been willing to guide me has been both humbling and honoring. Now that we're past the initial getting-to-know-you stuff and on to the real advising, however, there is a new challenge. They don't give the same advice.

On some issues, of course, they all agree. In fact, I now have some very clear next steps based on counsel they've given commonly. It's great when that happens! Unfortunately, there are at least as many issues where they disagree, often strongly. I'm not talking about issues that are vague or general, either. I mean very specific issues, such as org charts, proper compensation structures for management, and when (or whether) to raise capital. These are important decisions I need to get right, and very intelligent men are giving me very different answers. That's good thing.

Proverbs 11:14 says that "there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors." (My paraphrase.) Although it's not clearly stated, the inference here is that your counselors will not agree. Otherwise, what would be the point in getting a multitude? If they all said the same thing, one counselor would do.

My job now is to sift through the advice and choose what is best for my company. That's why we don't lead by committee. Nothing would get done. I know, however, that I am far better equipped to make wise decisions having heard from the "multitude" -- even on issues where they've disagreed.

The other (and perhaps more important) reason for me to have a "multitude of couselors" is that, frankly, sometimes it takes more than one person to convince me I am wrong. (Can you believe it?) This has happened a LOT lately. In fact, it's been more common for my advisors to disagree collectively with me than to disagree with each other. When they do, I pay close attention!

No comments: