The Organizational Development Muse

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

Judgment Calls: dealing with organizational leadership scenarios

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Jul 31, 2008 8:41:00 AM

Judgment calls are judgment calls. They aren’t exact. They aren’t easy. They don’t guarantee a successful outcome.

What the leader can know is that to do nothing is also a judgment call. That is, the failure to exercise judgment is still a choice of what to do with one’s judgment.

What the leader can learn is that it is better to follow through with judgment and action based on what they know, alongside helpful perspective from people who truly care about them, than it is to abdicate or hide or be paralyzed by fear.

In recent weeks I’ve faced the following scenarios. They were rife with judgment calls. History will judge whether I did well.

  • How to respond to my wife and family as my wife enters an 11th (count’ em) round of cancer.
  • How to respond to the pinch of congregational employees and volunteers that felt unsupported by each other (and ultimately unsupported by me no matter who I tried to help).
  • Which consultative projects to say yes to and which to offer to others.
  • Postponing a project that we really want to do, but for which financing would be risky at this time.

Other leaders must manage far bigger potatoes than I. Other leaders have far more naysayers and angry voices around them than I have ever had to face. Imagine being a presidential candidate, a professional baseball team manager, an airline executive, or a planning commission chair in your local township, and having to exercise judgment in public view.  Or imagine being God, and having everyone blaming or praising based on their perception of your divine judgment.

Actually, it strikes me that baseball managers and God have a lot in common. Everyone second guesses them. Most fans care about the game where they are present without respect for managing for the season, just as many people speak to God only about their own selfish situations and without respect for their lifetime or for the welfare of Creation.

Making judgment calls is to get out of the bleachers with the brew and cracker jacks, and into the dugout. No call will be liked by everyone. One will get their nose rubbed into even the most successful decision. It goes with the territory of being privileged to exercise judgment.

-mark l vincent


Topics: Organizational Leadership


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