Making Judgment Calls.
By: Tichy, Noel M., Bennis, Warren G.,
Harvard Business Review,
Oct 2007, Vol. 85, Issue 10
In the end, it is a leader's judgment that determines an organization's success or failure. On a more personal level, it is the sum of a leader's judgment calls that will deliver the verdict on his or her career--and life.
Our first finding, which focused our thinking on the topic, was that most of a leader's important calls reside in one of three domains: people, strategy, or crisis.
People judgments--getting the right people on your team and developing up-and-comers who themselves demonstrate good judgment--are foundational. The people around you help you make good strategy judgment calls and the best decisions during the occasional but inevitable crisis. It's sometimes possible to repair the damage--to a company or a career--that results from misjudgments about strategy or crises, but it is almost impossible to recover from poor people judgment.
Judgment process: First is preparation, during which leaders sense and frame the issue that will demand a judgment call, and align their team members so that everyone understands why the call is important. Second is the call itself--the moment of decision. And third is execution--making it happen while learning and adjusting along the way. Leaders may not be able to change their calls, but they can almost always change course during execution if they are open to feedback and committed to follow-through.
Indeed, good leaders take advantage of "redo loops," which can occur throughout the process.
Noel M. Tichy (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a professor of management and operations and the director of the Global Business Partnership at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor. Warren G. Bennis (email@example.com) is a university professor and a distinguished professor of business administration at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business in Los Angeles. Their book Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls is forthcoming from Portfolio.