My children are either out of college or finishing up their schooling, but they still come to me, on occasion, seeking my advice. I tell them, “My opinion is free, advice will cost you, and wisdom is really expensive.” As a result, they are very careful in choosing their words when they come to Dad for his input. The systems engineering industry is not so different; there are lots of opinions out there, but advice and wisdom are not as readily obtained.
So how does advice differ from an opinion? Advice is defined as guidance or recommendations concerning prudent future action, typically given by someone regarded as knowledgeable or authoritative. Thus, an advisor is a person who gives advice and is typically an expert in a particular field.
INCOSE, the International Council on Systems Engineering, is the professional society solely devoted to the promotion, application, and enhancement of the systems engineering discipline and profession. Considered the world’s authority on systems engineering, INCOSE and its senior leadership rely on the experience, advice, and wisdom of seasoned practitioners from more than 100 organizations that form its Corporate Advisory Board (CAB).
SAIC sits on that board. Douglas Orellana is SAIC’s representative to the CAB, and I serve as co-chair. In January, I will become CAB chair and sit on INCOSE’s board of directors.
Good advice is hard to find, so take it to heart when you come across it.