GOOD JUDGEMENT…is it a LEARNED Behaviour?
Will Rogers said “good judgement comes from experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgement”, so one might argue it is a leaned skill. The litany of poor experiences in our lives helps define our ability to make good choices. Warren Buffet said after he lost over ONE BILLION $$$ in the collapse of Tesco ”in life you only need to make a few good decisions, so long as you don’t make too many bad ones.”
Good judgement includes understanding the consequences of your actions and thinking about that before acting or speaking. Ask those questions of our Prime Minister this week…he clearly lacked good judgement when he chose to appear in Blackface, not once, but three times. In Mr Trudeau’s case it’s not about racism or ‘blind privilege” but it’s about his astounding lack of good judgement and his inability to see the consequences. I would suggest that good judgement is as much a product of your upbringing as it is about the experiences in your life. I know that from the discipline and teachings of my mother about tolerance and equality. Professor Laffer once said “you are what you will become by the time you are SIX years old!!!”. His premise is that our values and the expression of those values are engrained and determined at a very young age. I would agree that our Prime Minister led a very privileged upbringing but I would suggest that it shouldn’t have ‘blinded’ him to the consequences of his actions but in fact made him more enlightened. His father, a giant of an intellectual, his mother sensitive to the emotional challenges of life, both would have instilled teachings of tolerance and understanding of diversity that few of us could ever be “privileged “enough to receive, yet the opposite appears to be the case. Bad judgement is simply the inability to make the appropriate decision in the context of the immediacy of the moment.
In an article for the magazine Fast Company author Tomas Premuzic outlines three effective strategies to improve your good judgement and make the appropriate decision. Premuzic says that we often equate intelligence with IQ, but there is another factor at work EQ: your Emotional Quotient. Emotional or Social skills alone will not assure good decision making; many exceptional achievers had very poor social skills: Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Larry Ellison. So what is it that smart people do right? They understand the consequences of their actions, actually think about it and make better decisions when it really matters.
- Recognize your DEFAULT BIAS
We teach a course at PMA in our Salesmasters program called ACES. It is an attempt to understand the personality traits of our customers and adapt our presentations to those personalities. ACES stands for Analytical, Controller, Expressive and Stable, we are all a combination of these traits but recognize that the strength of one characteristic over another will define are perceived biases. For example, are you more data driven or intuitive? Are you a short-term immediate minutia thinker or a big picture dreamer? When confronted with a decision do we look for the positive or negative consequences? Recognizing your personality and how your respond to the decision making process will keep those strong tendencies in control and avoid bad decisions. Our Prime Minister said he has always liked parading in a costume…ignorant of the disrespect he might show to other cultures.
- Accept your MISTAKES
People with great judgement accept their mistakes. Our Prime Minister has apologized profusely but in many ways he blames someone else for his actions (his ‘privilege’), he ignores the facts (not once but three times in Blackface), or distorts reality (he was young and foolish and should have know better, but didn’t). The good news is that this can be a learning experience for Mr Trudeau. He maybe able to engage the nation and our children in an open discussion about issues of racism, tolerance and equality. Values he says he aspires to have but doesn’t.
- Learn from the EXPERIENCE
It may seem simple but in order to make an experience truly valuable you need to avoid repeating the same mistake. But simply not doing it again is not good enough. The best decision makers succeed by identifying their bias, analysing their mistakes, and take their consequences to a higher level in a teaching or coachable direction. I am not trying to make a political statement but our Prime Minister’s good judgement is fundamentally flawed. By needing and in fact demanding to be the centre of attention (he is an Expressive /Controller personality) it has distorted his ability to make good decisions. He has an incredibly engaging social skill but he needs to blend that great skill with a more analytical, stable personality. He needs to put away the costumes, the “me first” on stage persona and understand the consequences of his actions. It’s all about good judgement…if he can’t do that then the electorate may do it for him.