The Advice Process

The advice process as coined by Dennis Bakke practically looks like this:

  • Someone notices a problem or opportunity and takes the initiative, or alerts someone better placed to do so.
  • Prior to a proposal, the decision-maker may seek input to gather perspectives before proposing action.
  • The initiator makes a proposal and seeks advice from those affected or those with expertise.
  • Taking this advice into account, the decision-maker decides on an action and informs those who have given advice.

These simple steps are explained in more detail by Dennis Bakke: "Instead of the boss getting advice and suggestions from people below, the decision maker, who is almost always not an official leader, seeks advice from leaders and from peers. Usually, the decision maker is the person whose:

  • area is most affected,
  • who initiated an idea,
  • discovered a problem,
  • or saw an opportunity.

If it is unclear who the decision maker should be, the leader selects an individual to gather advice and make the final decision.

Before any decision can be made on any company matter, the decision maker must seek advice. The bigger the issue or problem, the wider the net that is thrown to gather pertinent information from people inside and outside the company. In my opinion, all issues of importance need advice from the decision maker’s own team. However, members of other teams in the plant or offices should also be consulted. Some decisions are so important that advice is gathered from other plants, divisions, and offices, including the home office. The board of directors should be consulted on the most important issues.