"advisors do not always want their advice to be adopted fully"

Philip Morgan

These two studies are especially interesting when considered simultaneously. Bear in mind that they are studies in emerging areas of sociology and therefore should be taken in that context (grains of salt and all that), and the emphasis added below is mine: 1: "In four experiments, we found that advisors do not always want their advice to be adopted fully. Instead, they often give advice about which they are uncertain and therefore want their advice to be averaged with judges' initial opinions or not used at all." (“Judges” here are the experiment’s recipients of the advice, not people in black robes in a courtroom.) Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0022103119303725 2: “Are we more inclined to take risks for ourselves rather than on someone else’s behalf? The current study reviews and summarizes 28 effects from 18 studies (n=4,784). Across all studies, choices for others were significantly more risk-averse than choices for self (d=0.15, p=0.012).” Source: https://papers.ssrn.com/Sol3/Papers.Cfm?abstract_id=1682569

I want ever more of us to get paid a lot of money for our advice. For advisory services. We often think moving from implementation to advisory services reduces our labor. It’s interesting – and more accurate, I think – to view it as labor substitution. You are replacing the implementation labor you used to provide with a mixture of intellectual and emotional labor. What exactly that emotional labor looks like to you will be based on your answers to these questions:

  • How responsible am I for the ultimate outcome(s) of the system I am advising?
  • Do the second and third-order consequences of my advice matter to me, or can I sleep easy at night knowing the advice itself was reasonable and well-intentioned?
  • How do I reflect on, evaluate, and choose to feel about my role within various types of success and failure?
  • How can I be effective as an advisor in the context of the realities of my market?

Part of being a better advisor is knowing thyself. I find the aforelinked studies helpful in this self-knowing work. I do, in fact, make more risk-seeking choices for myself than I would for clients. I don’t make choices for my clients, but when I help them make choices, I feel this additional weight – this burden – that comes from my concern for their wellbeing. That means I attempt to understand their risk profile and calibrate my advice accordingly. I am certain that context matters, and so I’m unable to dispense one-size-fits-all advice. That leads me to focus more on flexible frameworks rather than precise recipes, and that dramatically reduces the total addressable market for my advice. I think good frameworks and models allow my "advice to be averaged with judges' initial opinions or not used at all". Food for thought, eh? -P