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Devil’s Advocate


You are making a critical decision or are advancing an important proposal or recommendation which is mission-critical to your organization. There are potentially numerous stakeholders who might be detrimentally affected even though it is strategically necessary for the well-being of the organization. Are you well prepared to address the arguments likely to be made against your proposal? Strawmen, illogic, red herrings, and rhetoric are effective weapons to undermine even the best recommendations. Be prepared by having a devil’s advocate surface the arguments in advance.


Conduct a Decision Audit to identify 1) robustness of the decision process in order to determine areas of weakness, and 2) create a root cause complexity map to pinpoint areas of factual or causal vulnerability. Assist in shoring up any weaknesses in the decision process. Address any weaknesses in factual/causal vulnerabilities. Identify the nature of stakeholder interests (given the decision) and determine likely counter-argument they will make. Prepare counter-points.


Since there is an argument continuum from logical to irrational, there are an infinite number of points of attack. The Devil’s Advocate approach allows you to shore up any areas of vulnerability in your own presentation while at the same time preparing appropriate responses to anticipated criticisms.

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