The Mark of Wise Counsel

by on March 7th, 2015
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Introduction

It pays to be married into a wise family. My mother-in-law, Lucy Packer Andrews, was always a source of good information. She was an elementary school teacher for over 30 years. Mrs. Andrews (as I respectfully called her) was the most active woman I have ever seen. In fact, she was multitasking before it was embraced by popular culture. When our family made our way to her home, Mrs. Andrews had already strategically found a way to get all her children and their spouses to volunteer to assist her planned events.

Yet, it was her down-to-earth wisdom that amazed me (even with my master’s degree education). When I got my first opportunity to teach at a college, she broke down a very simple teaching strategy that encompassed the introduction of a concept followed by the immediate application. It is the same simple approach that I now use to guide my intellectual MBA students. Although she has since passed, Mrs. Andrews’ wise counsel remains as her legacy for all generations.

Economic Plight

With over 15 million people unemployed in the US, it’s not rocket science to see that our nation is in trouble. Investors across the world are panicking and believe a new recession is coming. The U.S. economy has grown at an annual rate of .7% in the first half of the year, which is the slowest growth since June 2009. In a healthy environment, this number would be 4 or 5%. In August of 2011, our nation posted no job gains. This economic slump is historic since it’s the first time since World War II that the economy has shown precisely net zero job creation for a month. Retail, manufacturing, information services, and construction all lost jobs. Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world is doing much worse. Therefore, the same old methods won’t work.

Wise Counsel

Today’s leaders must rely on wise counsel instead of management fads. Fools shun wise counsel. In my book, Don’t Be An Old Fool: Common Sense & Gratitude, I mock popular culture which provides solutions that don’t make common sense. In this vein, you have managers making decisions that everyone in the office, including the janitor, knows are fatal mistakes. Instead of listening to their people, these arrogant leaders make bad decisions that cost the organization in the long run.

I simply refer to these people as “fools.” In the Bible, the word fool is used over 60 times. It was not a flattering signature of one’s character. In my world, I define a fool as an individual who knows what is right but chooses to select the wrong path. Instead of selecting wise counsel, this person seeks advice from individuals who lack wisdom. In fact, one good example would be an individual who is indebted getting advice from a person who badly manages their money and has an awful credit rating. It does not make common sense.

Consequently, choosing wise counsel is important. Wise counsel is a derivative of wisdom. Wisdom is defined as “the ability to make sensible decisions and judgments based on personal knowledge and experience.” When an individual seeks to get guidance from someone with the character trait of wisdom, that individual is selecting wise counsel. Consequently, an individual who lacks this wisdom can be characterized as a fool. When a manager seeks advice from advisors who are unwise, these managers are traveling in the pathways of fools!

Conclusion

As the economy continues to spiral downward, today’s leaders need to invest in wise counsel. As Mrs. Andrews’ life demonstrates, wise counsel can transform individuals and organizations. However, implementing a fool’s advice can destroy great institutions overnight. It is bad to be “a young fool” but it is much worse to be “an old fool.” Wise counsel should be the badge of any high-performing organization that wants to compete in the future. Therefore, contemporary leaders must understand that listening to their employees and other wise advisors is not a sign of weakness but sound judgment.

© 2012 by Daryl D. Green

About Dr. Daryl Green: Dr. Daryl Green provides motivation, guidance, and training for leaders
at critical ages and stages of their development. He has over 20 years of management experience and has been noted and quoted by USA Today, Ebony Magazine, and Associated Press. For more information, you can go to nuleadership.wordpress.com or www.darylgreen.org.


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