Observing without Judgment I: Snap Decisions, Damaged Businesses

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Observing without Judgment I: Snap Decisions, Damaged Businesses

Observing Without Judgment

It’s the quality of a leadership mindset that gets the most kick back in the consulting I do.

“Observing without judgment?” Lori Leader might say, “Surely the job of a leader is to act. To make the tough decisions and see them through.” She rolls her eyes as if to say, man, I’m paying for this?

She takes a breath and it feels like she’s finished, but she isn’t. Not yet, “If a leader isn’t judging how things are going then, what’s she doing? Galvanising support, leading people in a direction with no sense of whether the process is working? That’s not leadership, that’s stupidity.”

And if that’s what I meant by observing without judgment it would be stupidity.

A Blog in Three Parts

Because this is a big subject I’d like to explore it over three blogs.

In today’s blog I’ll outline what I mean by observing without judgment. In my next blog, about two weeks or so from now, I’ll write about the thing that makes it hard to observe without judgment: our worldview.

And in the third blog (about a month or so from now) I’ll offer some ideas on how we can work with our worldview to help our judgment.

All set? Then here we go…

All in Good Time

Yes, a leader judges the effectiveness of a certain course of action. As new information comes in, she judges what’s working and what’s not. She mitigates against problems and anticipates future ones by judging what’s happening now and the risks she faces in the future. She judges the effectiveness of individual team members and deploys those team members with the most ability to handle areas she feels are business or project critical. She makes those judgments because when it’s time to make those decisions, it’s her job to make them.

And that’s my point: when it’s time.

Snap Decisions, Damaged Businesses

The best way I know to damage a business is to get a piece of information or make an observation and immediately judge what that observation means to the business.

Why does that damage a business?

Because making decisions too quickly means we miss opportunities, we fall into the “always done it this way” trap; and we look to the world like we’re weather vanes pointing in whichever way the wind is blowing. Think about how that looks to shareholders and potential investors.

The Promise of Observing Without Judgment

The ability to observe what’s going on without judgment leaves us free to think through the situation.

In that way we’re not blown around by prevailing winds, but kite flyers holding the wind in our hands. And seeing us work that way grows the trust and respect of those around us. And that means they’re more willing to listen to our ideas and fund our strategies.

That’s the value of observing without judgment.

I know these are easy things to say. We work with businesses over time because it takes time to embed these ideas. And that’s why this is a blog in three parts: less than that and I’ve had short-changed you.

So drop by in a couple of weeks and we’ll talk about why our worldview can make observing without judgment one of the hardest things you can do.


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What to dive deeper?

Check out The Six Attributes of a Leadership Mindset by Joe Britto

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