Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And Then Comes...The Judgment

One of my current clients is a new international media company - full of young, fresh-faced employees that want to change the world. Very exciting stuff. I'm loving the high-energy, the fearless attitudes, and the willingness to be creative/innovative. All these characteristics are worth their weight in gold.

Their problem? They've discovered a troubling trend. They'll select an idea, then all start working out different aspects of that idea to being it into production, then - something invariably derails the process. Again and again, someone on the team (different every scenario) does something that causes the rest of the carefully laid dominoes to fall.


They've come to realize that the common denominator is "bad judgment". Their zeal, overdone, becomes a liability.

The key ingredient to good judgment is experience. Judgment requires comparing things and making an educated guess - a guess based on probability - gathered from the experience with the various aspects of the situation.

For example, if I'm in my car trying to pull out into busy highway traffic, I use my past experience to gauge the speed of the oncoming cars, the opening between certain cars on the road, my car's pick-up performance, my reflexes, etc. Then I act.

If my judgment is good, then I merge seamlessly into the flow of traffic. I have successfully "judged" the importance I placed on all the elements in an appropriate way.

If my judgment is bad, I either interrupt the flow (problem) or even get into an accident (bigger problem.)

This is why inexperienced people make bad choices. They are still learning all the changing components of the unique situation and "guessing" the best they can.

Inexperienced doesn't always mean "youth". Some people who haven't been exposed to different aspects of life (through circumstances or choice) don't have the tools to "guess" effectively. And some young people have incredible judgment because they've been building it from an early age.

So, how do you "build good judgment"? The same way you build good character or anything that is worthwhile and lasts:

1. Get curious. Purposefully expose yourself to new experiences. Don't passively wait for it to magically happen by accident.

2. Pay attention. Notice the details of the dynamics of how and why things happen. Notice the natural consequences. There's a reason consequences happen the way that they do.

3. Make the effort. You must build good judgment (bad judgment tends to be the default in Life.) Get engaged.

My client organization is making fantastic strides in optimizing their new experiences. They're not settling for some superficial/temporary "program of the month" - they are building a foundation - one "on purpose" experience at a time. They are becoming seasoned on their own terms...which will allow them to achieve their dream of changing the world.

What are you doing to purposefully achieve your dreams...on your own terms?

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Excuse My Dust"

Believe it or not, "Excuse My Dust" is written on the gravestone of humorist Dorothy Parker. Not exactly known for her protocol sensitivities, I must admit, I appreciate her humor - and the ultimate consideration expressed in her "final words".

Parker was a prolific writer known for her caustic wit. She had a reputation for making an impression on everyone she met. She was making things happen. When you are really working at making a difference, some dust is to be expected.

Whether you are working with customers, guests, clients, or partners - consideration is the key (appropriate humor doesn't hurt, either.) Taken literally, being considerate is simply considering others first. Making the effort to see things from their perspective, and think about how the situation/our potential actions could be affecting them, and what their preferred situation/outcome would be - we can begin to work towards providing for that.

Not always easy, but truly that simple.

No matter who you are interacting with, a little consideration goes a long way to making that experience a success. Simply asking: "What are their hopes for this situation?" or "How is my behavior impacting them?" - and doing something about it - can make a world of difference for them.

And for you.

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!