South-Western - Management  
The Art of Decision Making
Topic Decision Making
Key Words Decision-making, judgment calls, leadership
InfoTrac Reference A148672914
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News Story 

It is one of the most challenging aspects of a leader’s role to make great decisions. Yet, there are hardly any benchmarks or resources to help business leaders develop competent judgment. A new book on the subject called Judgment: the Essence of Leadership written by Warren Bennis and Noel Tichy will attempt to address the competencies leaders need to make good decisions.

According to Tichy, the greatest challenge facing organizations will be developing the next generation of leaders, who will be driving change. Leaders and CEOs will need to make the right judgment calls and also make sure that a method of decision making is understood throughout the company’s culture. Tichy thinks that judgment can be taught and that most leaders have a natural method they use for making decisions, even if they are unable to articulate the method. Sometimes the key to good decision making is knowing when to take risks and sometimes it is making the final call.

Tichy also comments that judgment can’t be developed without experience. The real challenge for younger leaders will be making sound decisions even when lacking relevant experience to back up their judgment.

John Kotter, the author of the book Leading Change: The Leadership Factor and Matsushita Leadership, says that another important aspect of good decision-making is realizing that true organizational transformation is a slow process and not to give up too soon. In his new book, “Our Iceberg is Melting,” Kotter makes the argument that dealing with change has become an increasingly important skill for people at all levels of organizations. The fable in the book likens the role that young people in organizations play to penguins and demonstrates how important they are in the transformation process.


Research rational decision making in your textbook. What are the steps to the rational decision-making model? Why do inexperienced leaders struggle even when they are given a decision-making model to follow?


List at least three common decision-making mistakes.


How can leaders improve their abilities to make decisions?

Source “The Art of Decision Making,” The Economic Times, Sept. 2, 2006, pNA.
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