A Devil’s advocate’s biggest strength is in arguing ‘against’. Their role: to resist, to point out flaws, risks and yes, alternatives. The ‘Yes, BUT’ mentality is a naturally challenging one whose biggest benefit is in closing old strategic doors and, rather wonderfully, opening new ones.
By shooting down many good strategies with a well-timed ‘Yes, BUT’, these folks also increase both the number and quality of strategic alternatives. Why? ‘Yes, BUT” is a great catalyst for new ideas as it inspires your team to counter the Devil’s argumentation.
Not having someone to challenge your thinking contributes to two significant problems. First, you miss the opportunities a different perspective can present. Second, your weaknesses as a leader are reinforced by not having people in your business who approach decision-making differently than you do, resulting in mistakes that could be avoided if someone with a different lens caught them.