Decision-making is something we do all the time. Some are made almost sub-consciously, while others are made after great thought. I came across a couple of books recently which delve into the process of how we make decisions. The first is Michael Useems The Go Point.
Here is how the book is described [via Amazon.com]:
The Go Pointthe moment of truth when you have to say yes or no when its time to get off the fence.
Michael Useemthrough dramatic storytellingshows how to master the art and science of being decisive. He places you smack in the middle of people facing their go point, where actionsor lack of themdetermined the fates of individuals, companies, and countries.
Why on earth did Robert E. Lee send General George Pickett on an almost suicidal charge against the Union lines at Gettysburg? How does the leader of a firefighting crew make life-or-death decisions, directing his peoplewith little information about weather patterns to guide himto go up or down the mountain? One direction means safety, the other danger. Youve just assumed responsibility for a scandal-wracked corporation, a company teetering on the brink of disaster. What you decide over the course of the next several days will have consequences for thousands of employees and investors. How do you fulfill your responsibilities?
Michael Useem makes you feel as if you are there, right in the center of the action. He was there: tramping up and down the mountain where firefighters made their momentous decisions; walking the battlefield at Gettysburg to see for himself just what General Pickett faced before making his ill-fated charge; going into a trading pit where million-dollar buy-and-sell decisions are made that affect fortunes of both the firm and the person making the call.
Youll discover why some decisions were flawless, perfectly on target, and others utterly disastrous. Most of all, youll learn how to make the right calls yourself, whether youre changing your career, hiring an assistant, launching a product, or deciding on a potential acquisition or merger.
Smartly written and offering unusual insights into the minds of decision makers such as General Lee, The Go Point will provide the guidance for you to move with confidence when its your turn to get off the fence.
[Useem] is the author of some of the best books ever written on leading, particularly Leadership Moment from the late 90s, a book which uses examples of people leading while confronted with real world situations. Yes, his credentials are impressive, and his view on leadership above par, but what also sets him apart from the pack of business book authors is his storytelling ability. Michael Useem is a damn fine writer.
The Go Point continues his look at leadership, but focuses on that crucial decision-making point where we have to go and move forward.
I found the story about the Colorado forest fire to be intense and riveting. To understand what the firefighters went through and to understand the decisions that were made, Useem walked the landscape with one of the survivors. He tells the tale and then points out the decisions and the errors that were made with too little information. He describes the tremendous stress of battling a raging forest fire and how that affects decision-making.
Tomorrow: The Go Point (continued)
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