The Four Kinds of Leadership Judgment: A Framework for Selecting a CEO

The Four Kinds of Leadership Judgment: A Framework for Selecting a CEO

Ultimately, the choice of a CEO is a calculated bet on how good that leader’s judgment will be when it comes to selecting the right people, setting the organization’s direction, and handling the inevitable crises all organizations face.

With Warren Bennis, I have developed a framework that will help in examining a leader’s past judgment calls and predicting future calls. The framework identifies four levels of leadership intelligence: judgment about yourself; judgment about your immediate team; judgment about your organization; and judgment related to stakeholders (decisions that involve your board, suppliers, customers, and community). Good leaders need capabilities at all four levels. The chart to the right presents the core issues—regarding people, strategy, and crises—in each area for which leaders must exercise judgment.

Great leaders are defined as such because a high percentage of their judgment calls are good. The key to such high performance is possessing knowledge that goes beyond a “just the facts” analytical capability. It is possessing deeper knowledge of the four domains.

PERSONAL JUDGMENT

PEOPLE Personal judgments about your ambitions, role, and capabilities

STRATEGY Personal judgments regarding your career and life strategy

CRISIS Personal judgments made during times of crisis and introspection

TEAM JUDGMENT

PEOPLE Judgments about who is on and off your team

STRATEGY Judgments about how your team evolves to meet business demands

CRISIS Judgments about how your team operates and with whom during a crisis

ORGANIZATIONAL JUDGMENT

PEOPLE Judgments about organizational systems for ensuring quality and capability of people in the organization

STRATEGY Judgments about how to engage and align all organizational levels in strategy execution

CRISIS Judgments about how to work with the organization through times of crisis

STAKEHOLDER JUDGMENT

PEOPLE Judgments about which stakeholders are important and how to engage them

STRATEGY Judgments about engaging stakeholders to frame, define, and execute strategy

CRISIS Judgments about dealing with key stakeholders during times of crisis

—N.M.T.

SOURCE JUDGMENT, BY NOEL M. TICHY AND WARREN G. BENNIS (PORTFOLIO, 2007).

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