Decision Making Based on … what?

[May 2, 2018]  Good decision making is not always easy and no one said being a leader was going to be a cake way anyway.  Decision-making abilities are based on proper and independent judgment.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” – Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll), English writer, mathematician, logician, deacon, and photographer

Charles Dodgson was an intelligent man who was known for his logic and interesting wordplay in his writings.  He was most interested in how men make good judgments about the world around them and often wrote about it in his fantasy works like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865).

That’s right, “judgment.”  As we know, the leader must exercise a particular judgment that has been developed through a combination of experience, education, training, and by obtaining accurate information.  These four items are not always available and frequently we see them corrupted to the point they give leaders a false lead.

Independent judgment is the phraseology used today when it comes to the proper way for leaders to make proper and effective decisions.  Not long ago, it was expected that a leader would have these necessary attributes to do this since all leaders forged their way through a predetermined pathway.  By surviving tests of their abilities along the way, they emerged as a worthwhile leader or they didn’t.

Today it is common to have leaders who are in their positions making decisions yet they are there, not based on experience, education, and training, but by the fact of their race or gender.  This was common practice in the centuries prior to the middle 20th Century.  Ones birthright or inheritance determined what leadership position a leader would obtain.

This was pushed to the wayside as wars of the 20th Century proved this model of leader development to be wrongheaded and frequently tragic in its outcome.  History repeats itself, of course, but no one is paying much attention to this shift in leader selection.

Perhaps we could all do ourselves a favor and again read some of Lewis Carroll’s works for insight and entertainment.

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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

28 thoughts on “Decision Making Based on … what?

  1. Mr. T.J. Asper

    This is why I spend a lot of time with my students looking at what people are thinking when they make a decision; regardless of the decision itself.

  2. José Luis Rodriguez

    No one ever taught me anything about formalized decision-making. I did it by the seat of my pants. This is not always the best method.

  3. Edward Kennedy III

    Well, I would differ with your assessment. I do think it has infected the U.S. military and specifically the Army. Too little time and space here to get into it, but political correctness and avoiding seeping moral issues, it is about time for them to throw off this high-horse of quasi-morality and get on with protecting our nation. Generals and Admirals had better get their acts together quickly or they should be thrown out on their collective ears.

    1. Tracey Brockman

      Yes, good points here. The U.S. Army needs an infusion of good leaders to knock down this PC stuff. But alas, I think there is a real lack of moral courage on this subject.

    2. Kenny Foster

      I like your thinking. Looking forward to reading an article from you soon Mr. Kennedy.

    3. Drew Dill

      Concur with your opinions here. Thanks Mr. Kennedy.

  4. Mark Evans

    Thanks, good article today Gen Satterfield

  5. Janna Faulkner

    In m pre-college days at school, a long time ago, teachers taught us to make good choices. Today that is seen as bias and is banned in some schools. But making a decision based on experience and good information will always be the number one way of doing it right.

  6. Max Foster

    We used to say that some people had a refined “discriminating taste” for making good decisions. The word “discrimination” and its variations is now too slanted. But the idea that people can make good judgments based upon incomplete information remains.

  7. Delf A. "Jelly" Bryce

    I remember growing up and as a young boy listening to the World War II veterans talking about how much they relied upon their officers and senior enlisted sergeants. They were confident that those men got to where they were only after being tested in battle and proved they could lead men in combat. Today, I’m not so sure who our military leaders are, other than bureaucrats.

    1. Douglas R. Satterfield Post author

      Jelly. I too grew up listening to combat veterans talk about their wartime experiences but with young men who returned from the Korean War.

  8. Martin Shiell

    This fad will not last too long in the West. I predict it will not turn out well for any of us. My concern is when senior leaders start getting picked because of their race, gender, etc. Oh! It’s already happening.

    1. Army Captain

      Yes, it is also beginning to happen in the US army. A few months ago I read about a US army Engineer general officer being a female. The news media were agage over it. The military senior leadership wase all smiles. She has proven to be a marginal general officer. No surprise.

  9. Joe Omerrod

    I agree, Gen Satterfield, that many of our leaders today (mostly at the most junior levels) are selected based on characteristics other than their ability to make good judgments. We call this being “fair.” Of course, this is a gross failure in many ways; particularly it is unfair to those who are fully qualified. This is what you get when you have senior leaders who don’t care about people but make their decisions on their own popularity.

    1. Tony B. Custer

      Very perceptive Joe. I agree.

    2. Yusaf from Texas

      Thanks Joe for a good summary.

  10. Jerry Jones

    I’m a big fan of Lewis Carroll and his way with words. Thank you for this quote.

  11. Ronny Fisher

    In the U.S. we will eventually figure out that tribalism is not good for us. In the meantime, we will continue down the PC path to destruction while some of our more “progressive” leaders fiddle as us rats follow.

  12. Jonathan B.

    Good logic to that without judgment and that no longer matters, we are prone to revert back to the days when we selected leaders based not upon their ability to judge but on their family heritage, wealth, etc. Leaders are now being picked because of skin color or gender. Sad.

    1. Shawn C Stolarz

      Yes, I think this is the point of the article. The West is slipping back into a time that didn’t work well for a modern society that is based upon the merits of how well a person performed but from which tribe they came from.

    2. Dennis Mathes

      Jonathan and Shawn, both have made excellent points here and the whole idea that Brig Gen Satterfield is giving us. Something to think about.

    3. Watson B.

      Points well taken. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  13. Billy Kenningston

    Good topic today Gen Satterfield. I will add the question, “If decisions should not be based on the leader’s judgment, what should it be based upon?” Of course, people will just say they need the facts. I think you point out well that those facts are not always there.

  14. Jung-hoon Kim

    Decisions are better when made by experienced leaders. This has always been true.

  15. Army Captain

    It looks like anytime a leader uses their judgment, there is criticism because there must be a bias “against” some groups of people. That is a twisting of the whole idea. Fortunately, that has not crept into the US army that much. YET!

Comments are closed.