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October 12, 2006

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects: The Go Point

By: Jack @ 12:40 AM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The Go Point: When its Time to DecideKnowing What to Do and When to Do It by Michael Useem, Crown Business, 250 Pages, $25.00 Hardcover, ISBN 1400082986
Michael Useem is the William and Jacalyn Egan Professor of Management at Wharton and the director of its Center for Leadership and Change Management. He is the author of some of the best books ever written on leading, particularly Leadership Moment from the late 90s, a book which uses examples of people leading while confronted with real world situations. Yes, his credentials are impressive, and his view on leadership above par, but what also sets him apart from the pack of business book authors is his storytelling ability. Michael Useem is a damn fine writer.
The Go Point continues his look at leadership, but focuses on that crucial decision-making point where we have to go and move forward. He describes it here: Ultimately, every decision comes down to a go pointthat decisive moment when the essential information has been gathered, the pros and cons are weighed, and the time has come to get off the fence.
I found the story about the Colorado forest fire to be intense and riveting. To understand what the firefighters went through and to understand the decisions that were made, Useem walked the landscape with one of the survivors. He tells the tale and then points out the decisions and the errors that were made with too little information. He describes the tremendous stress of battling a raging forest fire and how that affects decision-making.
You may have heard of this story as well: He looks at soccer team plane that crashed in the Andes in 1972 (remember the crash where the survivors at the dead?) through his go point lenses. And also, he even breaks down the decisions involved in accepting the surrender of the Confederate Army. The contemporary section I enjoyed was about Kozlowski and Lay and the rest of those bozos who came to a go point and looked for personal profit instead of the larger good.
Michael Useem has written another quality book about leadership in the real world that you will simply enjoy reading.