Are there only three types of advice?

“Here’s the deal…”

So, I occasionally read suspense novels to break up the relative monotony of constant business books. A sentence in the one I recently read caught my eye. “There are three types of advice,” the wise White House Senior Counsel to the President told the young White House attorney.

He referred to the three as legal advice, moral advice, and political advice.  Remember that this was a book about politics. What struck me is how he defined the three:

 ‘What you can do, what you should do, and what you want to do.’

Stick with me on the can–should–want thought for a minute.  Isn’t that a template for our managerial decision making?  Is it legal? Ethical? Advantageous for me or my cause?  What if all of us used this as our filter when making business decisions?  It seems to me that lots of problems would disappear, and our gray area decisions made clearer.  And what if politicians filtered their decisions through the same process?  It would be refreshing if each of our representatives put the moral and ethical filter above the decision to seek advantage.

It’s a great thought for each of us in business. 

Discipline ourselves to think whether a tough decision passes the legal, moral and finally, then the political tests.  It would work equally well in our lives and within the walls of the White House or Congress.

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