Understand Judgment and Succeed
Most people don’t truly understand judgment or how it impacts their success. In It’s All About Judgment, CDR Barry W. Hull, using data from hundreds of thousands of judgment assessments administered through his consulting firm and drawing upon his experience as a US Navy F/A-18 combat fight pilot, reveals the six irrefutable truths that lead to success—and they are not what you might expect.
No one ever says, “I think I’ll use bad judgment today and ruin my life.” Yet, people often make decisions and choices that lead to their downfall, or possibly even to their death, or perhaps simply to a life less well lived. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Judgment is neither abstract nor arbitrary; it can be measured, understood, and improved. Judgment has specific components and a defined structure. There are three specific components of judgment that we must develop and use in order to make good decisions and be successful, and there are three main detriments to judgment that we must avoid. These six truths will help you improve your judgment and succeed.
Poor judgment is not written in stone. Judgment can always be improved upon–dreams and goals can be fulfilled. It’s All About Judgment shows you how.
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About the Author
He has been a military analyst for Fox News Channel, has appeared numerous times on the major and cable television networks. Hull has been featured on 60 Minutes II, the History Channel and Discovery Channel, as well as a variety of newspapers, radio stations, and other media outlets, locally, nationally, and internationally. He is a regular speaker for schools, groups, and events.
Hull received a bachelor's degree of science and a master's degree of science in civil engineering from Clemson University.
Read an Excerpt
YOUR JUDGMENT JOURNEY
The Navy Calls It Headwork
The only item graded on every single flight in the entire U.S. Navy flight-training syllabus is headwork. Not even basic air work or emergency procedures (which, together with headwork, comprise what the Navy calls the Big Three) is graded on every single flight.
Many student naval aviators wash out of the flight program because they lack headwork. Imagine the disappointment of being kicked out of Navy flight school, your dream of becoming a military pilot shattered, all because you lack headwork?
As you can imagine, to a naval aviator, headwork is a very big deal. Actually, no matter what we do, or who we are, or where we go, headwork is a very big deal.
But what do we know about it? Where does it come from? What are its origins? Can we define it? Can we identify it? Can we improve it? Can we measure it? If we lose it, can we get it back? Just what exactly is headwork?
When I ask my corporate clients these questions, I receive all sorts of answers — sometimes a blank stare, a chin scratch, or just a faraway look.
The term itself, if we stop and think about it — headwork — seems a bit unusual, as it suggests "work performed by your head." Ponder that concept for a moment: work performed by your head.
Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, defines headwork as "mental effort; thought."
The U.S. Navy (not to be outdone) defines it as follows:
The ability to understand and grasp the meaning of instructions, demonstrations, and explanations; the facility of remembering instructions from day to day, the ability to plan a series or sequence of maneuvers or actions, the ability to foresee and avoid possible difficulties, and the ability to remain alert and spatially oriented.
The Navy didn't arrive at this definition overnight. They spent a great deal of effort in their attempt to define headwork, because in the military we know what a very big deal headwork is. However, in all likelihood, unless you are a U.S. Navy pilot, you probably rarely, if ever, use the word headwork. You probably use another word: judgment.
Webster's defines judgment as "the ability to come to opinions about things; power of comparing and deciding; understanding; good sense." And that is such a big deal, and so incredibly important, because if we "get it right" — and learn to better understand and improve our judgment, our good sense — we can improve upon, strengthen, and reinvigorate all areas of our life, both professionally and personally. Furthermore, we can do so no matter how wonderful our lives are already.
Simply put, judgment is the primary key to our success.
In the work we do at my two consulting firms, Athena Assessment and Pilot Judgment, many of our clients tell us that good judgment is absolutely vital to their company and its success. They say that when hiring, if forced to choose between two candidates — one with good judgment and the other with job skills — they would choose the candidate with good judgment. If our clients could be sure that they were obtaining superior judgment, they would often be willing to skimp a bit on skill-set competency. Of course, we want both: judgment and skills. Nevertheless, the point is that in many situations, good judgment is as important, or possibly even more important, than skill.
This brings us to the heart of our work, which is the study, measurement, and improvement of judgment. Our goal is to help individuals improve their decisions, choices, and actions, to assist them on their path toward further success and happiness — what I call a judgment journey. You have already taken a first step: the furthering of your understanding of the personal value structure, which you will explore in this book.
Whether you are a homemaker, a doctor, a pilot, a carpenter, a teacher, a coach, a military veteran, a college kid, a retail salesperson, an engineer, a ditch digger, unemployed, or whatever, I am going to share with you the six irrefutable truths of success, gleaned from over ten million statistically predictive data points, as well as many thousands of judgment assessments, interviews, and studies. Do not underestimate the power of these truths. Follow them. They lead to higher levels of professional and personal success.
Your World Lens
Think back to your first consciousness or awareness of life ...
For most of us, our earliest memories are a bit fuzzy or blurry, absent of detail and specificity. Back then we lacked any sort of comprehensive awareness of our surroundings or ourselves. Nevertheless, even though we had only a rudimentary grasp of our surroundings, we learned (and quickly!) to react to our surroundings. Some particular stimulus would enter our world — and we would react. Something would scare us, and we would cry. Then Mom would show up, and we would be happy and giggle.
Later, as we became more conscious and more aware, something amazing happened: We learned to incorporate deliberation, consideration, and assessment of our surroundings and ourselves. We learned to move beyond the simple process of reaction, to that of evaluation.
This ability to evaluate is the underlying structure of human consciousness. Evaluation occurs constantly throughout our lives. It is real, extremely complex, decisive in influence, and unique to each of us.
What that last bit means is that your particular underlying structure is the lens through which you see the world. Your world lens helps you assign value, guides you to your decisions and actions, and in great part makes you the person you are today. So whether a decision is solely reactionary, includes the higher-order activity of evaluation, or involves some combination of each approach, your world lens is what leads you to your choices, decisions, and behavior.
Our values make us who we are. Our underlying structure is specifically a value structure, and it is based primarily on our individual, personal values. It provides for us the ability to engage in evaluation — the process of assigning value — which goes far beyond mere thinking. True, evaluation involves thinking, but evaluation is a much higher-order activity, and much more complex.
The primary manifestation of our evaluation process is into our judgment, which is the primary driver of our decisions and behavior, from our first initial consciousness of something to the moment we make our final decision on it.
Evaluation and judgment — or evaluative judgment — set us apart both as a human race and individually. Evaluative judgment is the ability, when presented with an issue, problem, or situation, to observe and understand the dynamics of the situation; to determine what actions will make the situation better; and to act ultimately to improve the situation.
Continuously, incessantly, throughout every day, our value structure guides us through a process of evaluations, judgments, and decisions. The process has a far-reaching range, from small and inconsequential decisions ("Should I take the car or ride the train to work today?") to the occasional enormously life-altering decisions ("Do I quit my job to fulfill my lifelong dream of traveling around the world?"). The process is based on our very own, very specific, very personal, one-of-a-kind, unique value structure. Our value structure influences every decision and choice that we make.
Even individuals with similar education, similar backgrounds, similar experiences, and similar lives often will see the same exact situation in two completely different lights because of differences in their value structures. This happens whether we are workmates, siblings, friends, or squadronmates. Our values are as varied as the humans on this planet.
Whether we are buying a car, making a marriage proposal, studying for an exam, asking the boss for a pay raise, mowing the lawn, shopping for groceries, flying a plane, fighting in combat, or arguing a case in a court of law, our unique value structure is with us, helping shape and guide our decisions and choices.
This important point cannot be overemphasized. The concept that our values manifest into our underlying value structure — which manifests into our evaluations, which manifest into our judgments, which manifest into our decisions and choices, which more than anything else determine who we are as an individual — is a very big deal.
Many factors — upbringing, training, education, experience, advice, trauma — coalesce to form our value structure, and this process never ends. Our value structure is dynamic and always changing. It will continue to develop over the course of our entire life. It grows as we grow.
People are always changing and always growing. As we encounter daily living, new experiences, more education and training, various adversities, and so forth, our value structure evolves and brings new understanding to the way we see and relate to people, work, places, and things. New problems and challenges may force us to mature and grow in ways we cannot always foresee. Nevertheless, at any given time, our value structure is operating within us, and it significantly determines how we process the world and how we react.
The Determining Factor
For over one hundred years, personnel assessments have been used to help gain various insights into individuals and/or organizations. Typically, individuals undergo assessments for the primary goal of personal improvement of some kind or another. Organizations employ such assessments to augment hiring and promotion decisions, and/or to facilitate the development and enhancement of the organization's current workforce. Furthermore, there are two main types of personnel assessments: skills-based and non-skills-based.
Skills-based assessments are usually pass/fail type exams — for example, the Private Pilot exam, the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) technician test, the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) final exam, or the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE). They test for competency and knowledge within a particular occupation or activity. Skills-based assessments are typically graded, with a minimum qualifying score required for the test-taker to receive a particular certification or qualify for a particular job. Skills testing is required in many occupations in fields such as surgery, engineering, accounting, aviation, and professional sports. Occupations such as these demand an extremely high level of precision and skill, and the assessments make sure that adequate skills are present in those who wish to work in a certain field.
However, merely passing the test and possessing necessary skills is not sufficient for long-term success. To achieve high levels of success, we need to wrap any skills and knowledge we possess in the blanket of good judgment. If we are to succeed at anything, there is a strong need for both skills and good judgment.
As for most non-skills-based assessments, they fall into one of three categories: (1) IQ tests, (2) personality profiles, and (3) psychiatric/emotional balance inventories. Though many organizations require the completion of one or more of these types of assessments as a prerequisite for employment, they have very little to do with, and are not predictive of, success.
First off, success is not about IQ. There are individuals with high IQs who are "book smart" and yet have little common sense, wisdom, or decision-making or problem-solving ability. They may struggle to achieve success and be lackluster performers within their chosen work. Rational intelligence alone is simply not a predictor of high performance or success. Make no mistake: Having superior rational intelligence can be, and often is, a wonderful advantage, and many highly intelligent people are extremely successful. However, many are not. Common sense, wisdom, and evaluative judgment are much more predictive of success.
Second of all, success is not about personality type. Many people are able to overcome very real, supposedly negative personality traits and characteristics, and to perform their work in an excellent fashion and achieve high levels of success. The overwhelming majority of personnel assessments used today are personality profiles. Some try to suggest that certain personality types will result in certain kinds of competencies (or a lack thereof). But depending on personality tests to predict success in a certain occupation or role is short-sighted. Simply, personality is not a valid predictor of success. Our work in the arena of value and judgment goes far beyond personality.
Thirdly, most people who experience social or emotional breakdowns, or who show extreme lapses in judgment, do so because of the presence of overwhelming stress and a corresponding lack of the ability to cope. True, many suffer from a bona fide psychiatric disorder or dysfunction, and psychiatric tests aid in the detection and diagnosis of mental illness. Excluding that, the remedy for most emotional breakdowns is to get stress under control.
In this context, an "emotional breakdown" is the phenomenon of using extremely poor judgment when you actually know better: cussing out a coworker over a minor difference of opinion, making a completely irresponsible financial decision, engaging in out-of-character risky behavior, or even just feeling overwhelmed with life and letting that impact your choices. What individuals in these situations really need to do is to learn better coping skills. If they reduce the negative effects of stress, they will be able to regain control of, and feel better about, their life. A reduction in stress can promote feelings of comfort, confidence, peace, and control. Evaluative judgment plays a vital role in our ability to contend with stressors and adversity.
So, if IQ, personality, and emotional balance are not the determining factors in success, what is?
Without equivocation, the single most determining factor in personal or professional success is the all-important, all-critical dimension of judgment. It provides and presents our unique value perspective on life and work, and it is the primary driver of our choices, decisions, actions, and behavior.
Your Value Structure
Remember that our values are natural to us, because our values are us. The lens through which we view various situations, people, places, and things is the lens that defines who we are as individuals, and that influences, more than anything else, our decisions.
Yet we must make a great effort to objectively scrutinize and selfassess, to be unbiased as we examine our behavior and choices. It is important to base our examination of our value structure on the decisions and choices we actually make, not on those we wish we would make.
For many, accurate self-assessment is difficult. There is a common tendency to believe that the way we desire to be is the way that we are in reality. But that is not always the case. How many times have you heard people describe themselves very differently from how others describe them? It is as if they are talking about two different individuals. If you find that others describe you in ways that are strikingly different from how you view yourself, be open to the honest critique — especially if you receive it from associates or close friends who know you well and have your best interests at heart.
As we go about the business of making decisions and choices, we might overemphasize certain areas of value and ignore other areas. If someone points that out to us, we might disagree. The disagreement would be rooted in our differing personal value structures — each value structure a different and unique lens to the world.
So, be open to the world lens of others — and what their lens says about you. Consider that others may see things differently from you, and that their value structure may have more clarity than yours, allowing them to point out areas that you tend to disregard. If you incorporate their suggestions into your value structure and decision-making process, it may well lead you to higher levels of success.
Nevertheless, self-assessment is not just about what our friends, family, and peers are able to tell us about ourselves. If we truly want to examine and improve our value structure, we must do our best to study our behavior as it is, not as we wish it to be. And no matter the nature and character of your particular value structure — strong, weak, or in between — or whether your self-assessment is even accurate, you will discover that a clearer understanding of the basis of judgment is a great aid to finding your success.
Excerpted from "It's All About Judgment"
Copyright © 2017 Pilot Judgment, Inc..
Excerpted by permission of Saranac Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part 1 — Judgment Matters,
Your Judgment Journey,
What Is Good?,
The Particulars Of Judgment,
Part 2 — Judgment Truths,
Three Global Judgments,
Truth #1: Intrinsic Judgment,
Truth #2: Extrinsic Judgment,
Truth #3: Systemic Judgment,
Global Judgment Interactions,
The Art of Noticing,
The Business Of Making Decisions,
Part 3 — Judgment Assassins,
Three Judgment Killers,
Truth #4: Stress,
Truth #5: Frustration,
Truth #6: Clutter,
Your Judgment Coup De Grâce,
About the Author,