Be Sufficiently Skeptical – Get Second Opinion on Business Prescriptions

Do you trust your doctor?

Someone you found after several referrals from your friends and social network?

Someone you have been loyal to for several years?

Someone who is over-worked, seeing patient every 10 minutes, double booked, and has no time to catch up on recent advances or practice evidence based medicine?

Someone who gets her/his scoop on latest medical advances from pharma sales reps?

In an article in WSJ, Holly Finn writes about the necessity of getting second medical opinion. What she says about doctors applies to all the management, marketing and business gurus you meet on the social media and the incessant business advice they dole out everyday in their blogs, Forbes articles and books.

Finn writes,

A 2010 Gallup poll found that 70% of Americans are so respectful of their doctor’s advice that they never get a second opinion or do additional research. We apply more scrutiny to choosing bluejeans, buying flat-screen TVs, ordering lunch. We should all get our heads examined.

Looking at the market for pulp-non-fiction books and marketing wisdom we see out there  and their continuing popularity over years I am forced to conclude the same about how we treat our gurus.

We love them. Re-tweet them. Re-blog them. We spread their incorrect theories based on spurious correlations and subject to hundreds of cognitive biases as indisputable business wisdom.

There is marketing lesson from Grateful Dead.

Some urging us to be weird.

There is this one guru who insults you outright by making a diagnosis that you have lizard brain.

Of course don’t forget entrepreneurial wisdom from 10 year olds.

We do not question them, ask what-else, seek contrary evidence or do our own independent research to check the validity. We take comfort in the power, position, pedigree and popularity of the gurus. In essence we are so respectful of our gurus that we suspend our skepticism and genuflect unconditionally in front of their wisdom.

We should all get our heads examined.

Don’t defer to your gurus. Be sufficiently skeptical. Question them. Seek second opinion.

Next time you read yet another indisputable wisdom coming at you from popular gurus, I am happy to provide that second opinion. Write to me before you hit that Retweet button.

At the very least, get a second opinion on the lizard brain. It is most likely not true.