Introducing Advice Cards – a powerful tool for improving decision-making in your organization by using the Advice Process. You can use them to increase awareness and options around who makes decisions and how those decisions are made.

Advice Cards – Meaning

Advice cards for effective decision-making

  1. I Decide: I make this decision alone.
  2. I Decide After Seeking Advice: This decision is mine to make. I will make it after seeking Advice from those impacted and those who have experience with this decision or domain.
  3. We Decide Together: This decision is mine to make with others.
  4. I Advise: This is not my decision. I am impacted or have experience that I will share with the decision-maker.
  5. Please Let Me Know: I have nothing to contribute to this decision.

Advice Process – Key Points

In a hierarchical environment, a manager may chose who should make a decision based on who has made good decisions in the past. Alternatively, any person who notices a challenge and wants to resolve it may become a decision-maker. The rules of the advice process are simple:

  1. Seek advice from those impacted so that they are involved in the process and their needs are understood.
  2. Seek advice from those who have experience with the decision so that one may see options and consequences more clearly. This may even include people external to your organization.
  3. It is up to the decision-maker to ignore, follow or integrate the advice. It is important that they fully own the decision since they are responsible for the outcome. The consequence of this freedom is real ownership. And so avoids the problem of consensus agreements that won’t really work.

The Advice Process is a term coined Dennis Bakke in his book “Joy at Work” that documents how this practice helped revolutionize decision-making at AES. It was was subsequently popularized as a key element of Teal organizations in Frederic Laloux’s Reinventing Organizations.

Advice Cards – How to Use

Here are some ways to use Advice Cards:

  1. With your boss, employee or co-worker: Discuss a decision and ask who is best to make this decision? Ask them to pick a card. Share your own card. Discuss.
  2. Education: Hand out the cards. Ask people when they might make each type of decision. Ask them how they decide which card to use for a given decision. Explain advice process and revisit cards.
  3. Coaching: When someone is struggling with a decision or there is conflict around a decision, hand them a card and ask them: Which one fits for them? For the other parties? This creates awareness of how we make decisions.
  4. Decision Poker for alignment: In organizations there is often ambiguity around who may make a decision. Multiple parties can be brought together to play “Decision Poker” to see whose decision something is. Each party picks a cards and reveals it simultaneously. It is then evident if there is agreement. If not, parties share their reasons for their cards and discuss the topic. The process repeats until there is convergence/agreement or this group agrees on range of decision-making and requests help in gaining clarity.

Advice Cards vs. Delegation Poker

I have been a long-time fan and user of Jurgen Appelo’s Delegation Poker Cards. I have used these for several years to help managers I work with improve decision-making.

Here are the reasons I prefer Advice Cards:

  1. There is no boss. Just people talking about who should make a decision. Makes it easier to invite Green/Teal consciousness.
  2. The word Advice helps cards connect with and reinforce advice process.
  3. It is easy to have several stakeholders clarifying who should make a decision. (This is plain confusing with Delegation Poker Cards).
  4. There are just 5 cards so easier to fit into my brain.

Get Your Own Cards

You have two options: print paper cards or order some decks.

Advice CardsYou can print this image and cut out your own cards. Immediate gratification!

Advice Card DeckYou can place an order for custom cards from my limited first print run. Each deck is $15 + shipping for 10 sets of cards (50 cards in total). Best way is to email me – michael.sahota AT

Comments? Ideas?

As this is a new product idea, I would love to hear any comments you have.

Also, I did try to set this up on Amazon but failed since it wanted a SKU. Help welcome.