Making Judgment Matter


Picture via True Activist
Picture via True Activist

Does Judgment Matter?

Food is a topic that interests everyone.

Lately the trend has been towards an awareness of what is good and bad in our food choices. Good as that is, however, many of us don’t realize that we are also part of an invisible economic system that is literally killing people in the millions around the world through its agriculture and food production methods. That we do not even question the status quo but accept it as an acceptable and normal part of life should be food for thought.

A Leader’s Most Important Role is Making Good Judgments

Learning to make the right food choices involves making judgments. The ability to make good judgments should not be limited to food but for all things in life.

We are by and large an uneducated lot. Most of us are much like sheep pushed around by what the big corporations decide and instructed by the corporatized media. This is what Carl Bernstein called in article he wrote entitled “The Dumbing Down of America.” Bernstein was one of the two journalists who broke the Watergate scandal and brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon in the 1970s.

Learning to make good judgments should be something we’re conscious of yet it is something seldom discussed. In fact this was the findings of two professors who researched into the phenomenon of leadership judgment. They found that most people had murky notions about it or thought of it simply as an event. They discovered that “good leadership judgment occurs not in a single moment but throughout a process,” and that the quality of the judgments we make have impacts not only on our lives but also others. 

Our ability to make the right calls has an obvious impact on the quality of our own lives; for leaders, the significance and consequences of judgment calls are magnified exponentially, because they influence the lives and livelihoods of others.

A leader’s most important role in any organization is making good judgments,” well-informed, wise decisions that produce the desired outcomes. When a leader shows consistently good judgment, little else matters. When he or she shows poor judgment, nothing else matters. (Making Judgment Calls by Noel M. Tichy and Warren G. Bennis, Harvard Business Review, October 2007)

Judgment Grows Out of a Process

Their researched also showed that most important judgment calls reside in one of three domains: people, strategy, and crisis. Their findings are summarized as follows:

  1. People judgments—getting the right people on your team and developing up-and-comers who themselves demonstrate good judgment—are foundational. The people around you help you make good strategy judgment calls and the best decisions during the occasional but inevitable crisis.
  2. Judgment doesn’t occur in a single moment but grows out of a process. First is preparation, during which leaders sense and frame the issue that will demand a judgment call, and align their team members so that everyone understands why the call is important. Second is the call itself—the moment of decision. And third is execution—making it happen while learning and adjusting along the way. Good leaders take advantage of “redo loops,” which can occur throughout the process. If you recognize judgment as a process, you have a chance to go back and correct the framing before you move on to the call, greatly improving the odds of success.

This research was done in context of large, complex multi-dimensional businesses running for the bottom-line. The biggest takeaway is that judgment grows out of a process. This means time, effort and growth. If businesses can run aground purely because of poor judgment by its business leaders, what about the greater enterprise of life that Christians have been called to undertake? It is any less onerous for us?

Learning to Make His Judgments

For those who desire to seek first the Kingdom and his righteousness, it means learning to make His judgments. The measure of such judgment is not man’s wisdom of success but guided by what is good or evil. The Word of God is the source code. This requires great wisdom and understanding. It also requires time as learning judgment is a process-led activity.

Quite unfortunately, many modern Christians have perhaps subconsciously outsourced the Bible to “specialists” instead of digging into God’s Word themselves. We live from Sunday sermon to Sunday sermon but life is much more complex than what Sunday sermonettes can deal with. And Christians should be encouraged to ask questions about the world around them in deeper ways than as a mere spectator, much like a couch potato watching the news on TV. For example, if we were to learn how to make judgments in the context of  food, what would our considerations be like? Perhaps some of the questions would be:

  • Why is so much food being made in a plant (factory)? What is driving that?
  • Consider the percentage of food grown on a plant to food made in a plant today, what does that percentage look like?
  • Why are foods still being made in a plant in the way it is when it is a proven fact that it is bad?
  • What does that say about corporations that continue to mass produce food in a plant when they know it is bad?
  • And lastly, why are Christians not asking these type of questions?

Jesus said that God’s people are in a condition where we are pretty much like the blind leading the blind. We have been called to be a people of truth. We must learn how to divide between good and evil so that our judgments of things will lead to right decisions. By right meaning bringing no harm to our neighbours and restoring life where there has been destruction.

If we are as blind as the world, like salt that has lost its saltiness, what use are we then to a world grappling for real solutions amidst great challenges?

The God-given light to man’s path in the world is His word. God’s word is likened to salt. His servants are the ones to translate the Word of God into a usable form that can bless the world. God’s Word (the Torah) provides us the blocks required for making good judgments. We have to dig deep in, like miners mining for gold and silver, like those searching for precious stones. The deeper one digs, the more precious the things that are unearthed. His desire is that man shall have life that satisfies – body, soul and spirit.

Do you agree that we do not have enough understanding of what making judgment is all about and and how it impacts our lives?   Do you have  a story to share on this ? I would be very interested to know what you think.

Let me know…


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