"What the heck is the matter with rational business advice? Are you suggesting we seek irrational business advice?" Good questions.
The problem with rational advice only is that it doesn't include an emotional component. The best business, leadership, and personal decisions make good use of both your rational and emotional intelligence. Here are a couple of common examples of "good" rational business advice.
"Define the most profitable target market for your business and focus on it. Then you'll make a lot of money."
"Gear your career toward the hottest sectors of the economy. Then you'll make a lot of money"
Do you sense a pattern here? The assumption is that the most important thing to you is maximizing your financial outcomes. What if you aren't passionate about either of the above examples of good rational advice? How successful do you think you'll be over the long term if you don't have your passion to motivate you?
What if something else is more important to you, like say, being happy? What a novel notion!
What's missing in the advice above is factoring in what you want from your business career as a leader. What if you don't want to maximize your profits, but rather your career satisfaction and your personal happiness?
Of course I'm not saying that profits aren't important--that would be a naive thing to say to any business leader. If you want to be really unhappy, just try spending more than you make for a while and you'll see what I mean.
But just maybe you want to focus on a market niche or a career path that isn't the absolute most profitable ever because of the career and personal satisfaction it could bring you. If the person giving you advice hasn't taken the time to ask you about your goals first, then beware!
Choose whom you ask for business advice carefully--all advice is not created equal.
Make sure the person giving you advice understands your values and priorities first.
Don't hesitate to go against the "business norms" of your generation sometimes; many of the great business leaders started out this way.
Copyright Terry "Doc" Dockery, Ph.D. All rights reserved.