It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. – Mark Twain
Nobody can be right all the time but the best leaders are indeed right far more often than not. They are right more often than not because they best leaders have good judgment. The simple definition of judgment is: an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought or the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought.
Both of those definitions have the term “careful thought” in common. A decision based on careless thought is rarely a good decision and never as good of a decision as it could have been.
A ball and a bat together cost $1.10. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
Research says that 79% of the people who just answered that question instinctively, without careful thought answered that question wrong.
Great leaders think and they think carefully before making a decision. They consider the consequences of their decision and the consequences of those consequences. Like a chess master they think several steps ahead of most people.
Great leaders think bigger.
Most importantly they know what they don’t know. They don’t assume much if anything. They verify their facts, they have people who they can bounce ideas off of, they count on those people to tell them the truth, not just what they want to hear.
The best leaders know that they can find out about the things they don’t know. They also know that their real problems come from “knowing” things that just aren’t true.
I think most people actually have the potential to have good judgment, they appear to lack good judgment because their decisions are instinctive rather than informed. They sometimes seem to think that a quick decision is better than a delayed decision. Great leaders know that a delayed right decision will beat a quick wrong decision every single time. Every single time.
I know I’m likely to get hundreds of tweets and responses saying I should go back to school and study math because they believe the answer to my earlier question is indeed 10 cents.
I thought about telling you why 10 cents is wrong but I’m not going to. Instead I’ll tell you this, if you’re willing to pay attention, really pay attention, then all the information you need to make good decisions and show good judgment is readily available to you.
You only need to pay real attention, you must linger on the words on the person you’re speaking with until you truly understand what they mean. You must read every word in a sentence because words matter, if you don’t your brain will play tricks on you and make you think that $1.05 is really $1.00.
Your judgment improves when you think bigger, listen intently and observe with both your eyes and your mind wide open. You have good judgement, the question is will you develop the skills you need to make use of it.
When you do, you’ll know without a doubt that the ball costs a mere 5 cents.