Monday, 7 September 2015

Devil's Advocate - or - The Voice of Reason?

Devil's Advocate  - or - The Voice of Reason?

The devil’s advocate is someone who (either intentionally or accidentally) criticizes the ideas of others without taking any responsibility for their actions. They often begin their objections with the phrase “Let me be the devil’s advocate.…”.
They may intend to be helpful by pointing out problems or challenges in an idea, but ultimately this focuses attention on what doesn't work rather than exploring unexpected ways that might work.

This is not to be confused with "the voice of reason".
Those who act as a voice of reason will offer useful information to build on the ideas given.
Even if they have concerns about an idea, they are willing to work with it and make it better.
Devil's advocates, on the other hand, seem hard pressed not to find fault and stop action from being taken, without providing better alternatives.

So next time you find yourself about to say "Let me play Devils Advocate here ... "
Think a moment ... about how the process could be improved upon, then say ...
"As a Voice of Reason, have we considered that if we do this, outcome 'A' may occur, whereas, if we were to take this alternative approach maybe we could get a better outcome"

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