Wear a Flame-Retardant Hood

Leadership Thought

It’s always good to seek advice and counsel, but don’t blindly follow it. Be sure to think for yourself, listen to your intuition, and decide what is best for you!


Typically, I share leadership ideas in my weekly note to you before putting them out on other forums. It’s my way of giving you, my closest connections, the first look at our content.

This week, I’m deviating from the norm as a social media post I put out a few days ago has received significant attention. I’ve decided to make that post the source for this newsletter as I don’t want you to miss the lesson.

But, don’t worry! You’re more important to me than a mere repost. I’ve added a tool and video to this newsletter that you can’t find anyplace else. Plus, I share how my latest podcast episode drives home this week’s lesson.


I once boarded a plane flight. After settling into my seat, I opened the outdoor travel magazine I had purchased in the terminal. The title of the first article I flipped to caught my attention, “How to Survive a Plane Flight!”

That seemed like interesting timing.

I felt compelled to read the article. It contained a list of things to do:

  1. Know where the closest exit is. (That seemed reasonable to me.)
  2. Wear your seatbelt low and tight across your lap. (Again, sound advice.)
  3. Keep your shoes on during takeoff and landing in case of a problem. (I hadn’t thought about that. Thanks for the heads up.)
  4. Wear a flame-retardant hood. (Say what?)

While the first three pieces of advice were good counsel, the last seemed a stretch and, had I complied, may have resulted in my being escorted from the plane.

The same is true for advice you receive at work and throughout your life. It’s always good to seek advice and counsel, but don’t blindly follow it. Be sure to think for yourself, listen to your intuition, and decide what is best for you!

Not sure where to start?

We have created the acronym A-D-V-I-C-E to help you work through the advice that others give you.

Acknowledge & Thank

Let the person providing the advice know that you value and appreciate their time, energy, effort, and input.

Don’t Dismiss Out of Hand 

Avoid the knee-jerk reaction of saying ‘no’ without investing time to evaluate and decide.

Verify Impact & Feasibility 

Consider the impact the idea will have if implemented and assess the feasibility of making it happen. Make sure the impact outweighs the cost.

Invite Your Gut to Chime In 

Pay attention to what your instincts tell you. Your experience and intuition can be very informative.

Consider the Source 

Reflect on who is giving the advice and their experience, understanding of the situation, and motive.

Evaluate & Decide 

Determine if you will put the advice into practice, apply a modified version of the other person’s counsel, or continue the status quo.

This week’s tool provides a visual illustration of the A-D-V-I-C-E framework. It’s perfect for printing, using, and sharing. Speaking of sharing, I’m providing you with a video about the Flame Retardant Hood advice. Share it with your team and discuss the advice you receive, the projects you tackle, and the priorities you set.

In this week’s Leadership Lab podcast, I talk to Leonora Williamson. She is a world-class executive coach and a colleague at Vanderbilt University. Leonora Zilkha Williamson joins me to discuss finding purpose in your work, using your natural gifts, and applying coaching skills to be a better leader. If you want to know what coaching is, why it matters, and how to do it with excellence.

Leonora shares how she discovered her purpose and how she lives out that purpose in her daily work. The episode’s overarching message will challenge you to do the same.


This Week’s Questions

  1. What is the last bit of good counsel you received, and how did it help you on your journey?
  2. How do you filter through advice from others to decide whether to put it to use or not?
  3. What might you do differently in the future to better give counsel to others?

This Week’s Challenge

Think about the last piece of advice you received and whether you decided to implement the suggestion. Consider how the A-D-V-I-C-E model could have helped you to make that decision.

Make it a great day!

Patrick

ADVICE Worksheet

Episode 156: Discover and Live Out Your Core Purpose with Leonora Zilkha Williamson