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Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls Hardcover – Bargain Price, November 8, 2007

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, November 8, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Leadership gurus Tichy (Control Your Own Destiny or Someone Else Will) and Bennis (On Becoming a Leader) examine the critical role judgment plays in effective leadership. Calling judgment the essence of leadership, they identify three judgment domains that can undermine any leader's success—people, strategy and crisis—and explore such challenges as selecting the top team, CEO succession, and crisis as a leadership development opportunity. The good news: even if one isn't born with good judgment, it can be learned. To sustain it, a leader must have character, courage and clear standards, especially when facing obstacles. For example, Jim McNerney, who became CEO of Boeing when it was amid a Justice Department investigation, developed a story line—or Teachable Point of View—that created and reinforced a theme of high ethical standards, bringing about a new partnership with Boeing's stakeholders. Additional real-world examples from Royal Dutch Shell, Proctor & Gamble and General Electric illustrate critical points of both good and bad judgment. Easy-to-read charts, lists and matrices reinforce key points. Particularly useful is the final Handbook for Leadership Judgment focusing on the practical level. This engaging and thorough work should be mandatory reading for executives and managers at all levels. (Nov. 8)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“This is an instant classic that will be read and consulted by leaders—and those who seek to become leaders—for years to come.”
—Richard D. Parsons, chairman and CEO, Time Warner

“Great calls deserve a comparable book to explain them, and now we have one. Read, learn, enjoy.”
—George P. Shultz, former United States secretary of state

“The leadership judgment framework is a tool leaders can use to develop the ability in their executive teams. This book can benefit anyone who is in or aspires to be in a leadership role.”
—Dieter Zetsche, chairman, DaimlerChrysler

“Judgment, from two of the most respected thought leaders of our times, is a blueprint, a gift to leaders of the future.”
—Frances Heselbein, chairman, Leader to Leader Institute, and founding president, Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management

“Tichy and Bennis write with clarity and good sense. You can hang your hat on the authors’ understanding of good judgment and its role in effective leadership.”
—Jeff Kindler, chairman and CEO, Pfizer

“Judgment is a singular achievement. It’s just the right blend of management wisdom and leadership action.” —Howard Schultz, founder and chairman, Starbucks

“Judgment is an enjoyable read illuminating key judgments made by some of America’s foremost business leaders.” —David W. Heleniak, vice chairman, Morgan Stanley

“This is as close to a definitive book on leadership as one can pray for.”
—Amitai Etzioni, author of My Brother’s Keeper
“I am a raving fan of both Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis. In this important book they give a crash course on judgment, revealing the tools great leaders use to make the right calls at the right time.”
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor, The One Minute Manager and Leading at a Higher Level
< “[It] is about how leaders put the energy into vision and strategy. . . . absorbing.”
Sisdemenore- —Edward A. Snyder, dean, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

“If you were to read only one book this year on leadership, this would be it.”
—Vijay Govindarajan, professor of International Business, Tuck School at Dartmouth

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; 1 edition (November 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841534
  • ASIN: B001BSSI3Q
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,449,470 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Davis on December 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book expecting it to be at least somewhat entertaining. After finishing the first 44 pages, I cannot bring myself to continue reading the rest: it is totally boring. Here are some quotes that illustrate the predominant tone of the book:

"In all three of our domains, people, strategy, and crisis, good judgment calls involve a process that starts with recognizing the need for the call and continues through to successful execution." (p. 29)

"Good judgment depends on how you think as much as what you know." (p. 31)

"There is nothing more important to an institution than who is going to be its leader." (p. 31)

"The quality of a person's judgment depends to a large degree on his or her ability to marshal resources and to interact well with the appropriate constituencies." (p. 39)

Not that there is anything wrong with these statements; it's just reading paragraph after paragraph of such banal truths gets tiresome. I gave this book two stars (instead of one) because the authors included a few real-life stories, but even these illustrations eventually turn into boring repetitions.

As a side note, I wondered why out of 19 reviewers, 15 gave this book a five-star rating, so I checked their other reviews. Interestingly, all reviews I checked are also five-star. Maybe this is just a group of people with different taste in writing, I don't know.

If you are not sure whether to buy this book, I would recommend you to read the positive reviews first and if what they say seems appealing to you, read a few pages from the book (you can peek inside the book using the "Search inside this book" link, just enter some word, like "leadership" or "judgment" and open a random page from the returned matches). Then make your own judgment.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the first book on which Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis have collaborated. Separately, each has already authored or co-authored several of the most influential business books, including Tichy's The Cycle of Leadership: How Great Leaders Teach Their Companies to Win and The Leadership Engine as well as Bennis' Geeks & Geezers (later reissued as Leadership for a Lifetime) and On Becoming A Leader: The Leadership Classic.

In the first chapter, Tichy and Bennis assert that what really matters "is not how many calls a leader gets right, or even what percentage of calls a leader gets right. Rather it is important how many of the important ones he or she gets right." They go on to suggest that effective leaders "not only make better calls, but they are able to discern the really important ones and get a higher percentage of them right. They are better at a whole process that runs from seeing the need for a call, to framing issues, to figuring out what is critical, to mobilizing and energizing the troops."

Of special interest to me are the different perspectives on the decision making process preferred by a number of exemplary CEOs who include Brad Anderson (Best Buy), Steve Bennett (Intuit), A.G. Lafley (Procter & Gamble), James McNerney (Boeing), and David Novak (Yum! Brands). For example, Immelt's "Boom, I make the decision" comes after he has obtained all the input needed. "There is a moment when, based on his view of time horizon for the judgment and sufficiency of input and involvement, the leader makes the call."

According to Tichy and Bennis, there is a framework of three "critical domains" within which all decisions are made. Judgments about people are the most difficult, and most critical; the others involve strategy and crisis.
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Format: Hardcover
Hurrah for Noel and Warren. At the very prime of their careers, these distinguished scholars have pooled their knowledge and research to wade in to the deep end of the pool on the murky but critical subject of management judgment. This has been a domain in which many others have feared to swim because of the inherent ambiguity and almost certain exposure to criticism associated with such an interdisciplinary construct.

Both authors have worked in tight with some of the most powerful transformational leaders on the planet. The sheer access these scholars were able to create to high-profile leaders embroiled in some of the major business crises of recent times is quite impressive. Less established scholars would have had to sit on the sidelines as distant observers or head for the basement to run yet another round of experiments on college sophomores. Yet, despite their clear association with these industry titans, Tichy and Bennis make a strong fact-based case against the "superman" idea, focusing instead on the critical information and influence that resides in the members of the team and among the stakeholders surrounding a great leader during times requiring major judgment calls.

Here are some their more important insights into the phenomenon of judgment:

- Judgment is not a discrete event or point decision. It is a process that embedded in and influenced by a set of relationships and a network of stakeholders.

- Judgment should not be evaluated on the basis of taste or idealized style, but on the outcomes it produces.
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