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This chapter is from the book

Good Judgment

A young man goes to a successful Advantage-Maker and asks, “How did you get such good business judgment?”

“Through experience,” replies the Advantage-Maker.

“Where did you get the experience?” the young man asks, excited to get an answer.

“Through poor judgment!” muses the Advantage-Maker.4

The moral of this little story is that there’s wisdom to be acquired from mistakes—but there’s no need for you to make all the mistakes; you can instead learn from the experiences of others. This book explains how poor judgment occurs and how to avoid or minimize missteps. It includes examples of poor judgments made by leaders, strategists, and advisors (including my own mistakes).

It examines errors and failures that have occurred over the years. It is a composite of what not to do, counterproductive action, and the poor advice others have offered to leaders and managers.

It is written for real people, with real jobs, who want to create real results. It is not for impostors or do-it-yourself know-it-alls who keep repeating what they already know, whether it fits or not.

If this book were only about poor judgments, you wouldn’t want, or need, to read it. The daily newspaper is full of mistakes made by managers and especially government officials, and everyone who works in an office has opinions of how managers mess up and what they would do differently, given the chance. Being a critic is easy. Coming up with a novel solution is much harder.

We examine how leaders handle and mishandle difficulties. Finding yourself between a rock and a hard place is not uncommon within the executive suite. Creating advantage in times of uncertainty requires at least one added dimension. This book identifies four Advantage Points to aid you in finding hidden opportunities.

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