November 12, 2007
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Judgment
Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls by Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis, Portfolio, 365p, $26.95, Hardcover, November 2007, ISBN 9781591841531 You make decisions constantly--sometimes subconsciously, sometimes deliberately--throughout every day. Some decisions are simple choices: Will you wear the brown shoes or the black shoes today? Others change the course of your life. The choice of university, first job and partner come to mind. The judgment you use at each important crossroads helps determine the success you will have in life. Many of the decisions made by managers affect not only their own futures, but the futures of every employee or shareholder. Authors Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis consider the essence of decision-making in their new book, Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls. It would be hard to find two more qualified authorities. Tichy developed GE's leadership program under Jack Welch and co-wrote Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will about the conglomerate. Bennis defined the genre of leadership literature with his books, Leaders and On Becoming a Leader. The acknowledgments thank a "Who's Who" of Fortune 50 leaders from Jack Welch to Jeff Immelt, A.G. Lafley to Jim McNerney, all who provided in-depth access and anecdotes to reinforce the authors' framework. In Judgment, Tichy and Bennis describe how successful leaders show good judgment and focus on what they found to be key aspects of decision-making. The authors found the most important types of judgments made by leaders were those regarding people, strategy, and crisis, adding that leaders could recover from poor judgments on the latter two, but rarely with bad decisions on people. Their process for good judgment consists of three steps: preparation, making "the call" and execution. The defining characteristic for good judgment was leaders who were willing to revisit prior steps to gather more information or organization support. This book just feels like a classic, from the cover art to the authors' authority. But more importantly, the 365 pages address a topic not effectively written about in previous books. The true test for a timely treatment is when you feel like a book's topic is one you should have been talking about and the conclusions feel natural--Judgment passes that test with flying colors.