How Do You Scrutinize Conflicting Advice?

At a time when you find yourself setting up a new company it is wise to seek advice from those that have already been there. (Don’t be afraid someone is going to steal your original idea!) The gain from seeking advice is that you are able to distill your business idea to a refined and viable product or service.

Yet all too often I hear people coming forward, admitting they got confused when they received conflicting advice. It makes me wonder if my advice how to deal with this, is also conflicting.

My advice is very basic: stay true to yourself, be honest about who you are and what you want. With that premise, ask advice for important decisions. Take them all in, soak them up and hold them against the light of your truth. The following questions will help you to keep or ditch advice.

  • Is the advice honest?
  • Do you understand the advice?
  • Is the advice practical? Practical advice is more useful than theoretical. Stash the theoretical advice away for a time when it may become more applicable to you.
  • What is your first response? This can be a screaming ‘yes’, a ‘don’t know’, a ‘this is interesting’ to ‘hell no!’
  • Has the advice giver experience in your line of work?

The big question is naturally:

Is the advice helping you move forward? This includes advice you may not want to hear.

Now start making it yours. Yes, shape the advice in a form that is applicable to your start-up, your industry, your way of doing business.

If you have a hard time making decisions, you may want to read these 10 do’s and don’ts to prevent decision fatigue.

So what other advice is out there?

Mark Suster’s advice on about triangulation is brilliant.

He states that triangulation helps because by knowing some things, you can better navigate what you don’t know. He also says, “Because I’ve asked more than 100 VCs similar questions, I start to notice patterns in thinking. Some of these patterns may apply to me some may not. Some may be repeating long-held conventional wisdom that is not necessarily still relevant, while others might have views that sound like total heresy.”

George Deeb at says gives four do’s when filtering through mentor advice:

  1. Listen to experience
  2. Listen to success
  3. Listen to majority
  4. Listen to your gut

And although Steli Efti, CEO at wrote about conflicting investor’s advice, his LinkedIn article is revealing his different approach. He is basically suggesting acting in a silo and finding someone separate for bouncing ideas around. He does say, (paraphrased) “keep your nose straight and listen to your initial gut feeling”.

Question is: how have you sifted through differing advice?


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As Founder of Kaleidoscope and Business Mentor, Lisette Andreyko works with start-ups on gaining strategic focus. She is passionate about leadership development in start-ups.

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