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Your Weekly Leadership HVA (High Value Activity)

Hello Lifelong Learner ...

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions) to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites #24: There’s abundant science/research available suggesting that the ‘smarts’ we’re given (e.g., our IQ) can only minimally be improved over time and that our cognitive capacity is finite. But don’t despair because the good news is our ‘fluid’ intelligence is very malleable — in essence, how people USE what they’ve GOT is what determines their capability to perform (and do great things). In Frames of Mind, Howard Gardner explains this phenomenon by revealing that we all function through a complex interaction of multiple intelligences. One of the intelligences he profiles, Logical Intelligence — commonly referred to as ‘good judgment’ — is this week’s CORE Bites topic.

Good judgment is the ability to see the connection between causes and their effects — allowing someone to forecast likely consequences or accurately predict the outcome of specific decisions and actions. Individuals with good judgment are able to reverse-engineer outcomes to determine likely causes to better understand (and learn from) what decisions/actions/behaviors resulted in the current situation. Good judgment includes considering the consequences of one's decisions and thinking before acting and speaking.

Because you can’t possibly have an established procedure for everything that will ever occur in your organization, you need employees who consistently demonstrate good judgment and make good decisions. Thankfully, good judgment is a skill people can learn over time.

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Step: The HVA steps listed below will help you coach employees to steadily improve their judgment. Used consistently, these steps will help employees understand (and appreciate) the principles and underlying structure for good decision-making:

  • Talk the (expected) Walk: During your one-on-ones, discuss the process to purposefully and systematically extract cause/effect lessons from his or her experiences at work. Reinforce that every decision and action is actually a set of choices each with likely/predictable consequences. Teach the art of looking for patterns, such as reviewing similar situations, that can lead to more accurate decision-making. Ask, “What have you tried in the past in this type of situation?” or “What have you seen other people do in this type of situation?”
  • Think Ahead: The key to success in any game of strategy (see CORE Bites #14) is to think ahead to play out all possible/likely outcomes. This is frequently referred to as a decision tree or as IFTTT (If-This ... Then-That). When coaching an employee you can demonstrate this by talking it through: IF you do THIS [enter action/decision here] what are the likely outcomes?” then IF you do THIS [enter alternate action/decision here] instead, how will that be different?”
  • Max/Min Decision Tool: Use our (Clearview) Max/Min Decision Tool which can immediately pinpoint the decisions that will lead to the MAX (maximum) impact/outcome while utilizing the MIN (minimum) resources (e.g., time, budget). Use this as a method to teach an employee how to develop a 'business-plan' approach to decision-making.
  • The Power of NOT: Many employees spend their time thinking about what they plan to do but relatively little time thinking about what they plan NOT to do. Ask “What were the alternative actions that were NOT taken?" then "What different outcomes might have occurred if those actions were implemented?”

I'd love to hear how this HVA works for you!

Have a brilliant day ... and enjoy the journey!


Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA

RESULTant and Behavioral Engineer

"Life's problems may only be avoided by exercising good judgment. Good judgment may only be gained by experiencing life's problems."

Jim Stovall 

Looking for previous issues of CORE Bites HVAs? Go to our Archives Repository.

An online version of this CORE Bites HVA (current issue) can be viewed here.


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Clearview Performance Systems, Inc.

24573 N 119th Pl, Scottsdale, AZ 85255 USA

Authorized Representative: Neil Dempster

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