The Go Point

The Go Point, written by Michael Useem, is a book that will undoubtedly help you to make better quality decisions as a leader.

Every leader faces those times we refer to as "key moments of decision"; moments that may very well change a persons life in some monumental way.

As the leader, only YOU hold the key to the final outcome, and the real question is - are you up to the challenge?

In reading this book, you will gain unique perspectives from leaders with varied levels of experience. The author provides you with the opportunity to observe and learn from others who have already learned to navigate the many challenges that occur on the way to success.

"Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more valuable, than to be trusted to decide."

The Go Point: When It's Time to Decide--Knowing What to Do and When to Do Itthe go point was created based on more than a hundred insightful interviews of leaders who make critical decisions on a routine basis.

Virtually all leaders would agree that it's always preferable to make the best possible decisions for themselves and on behalf of their team.

However, no matter how much one prepares, or how careful you are to be diligent in your gathering of information and facts – ultimately, every decision comes down to that one point in time, The Go Point.

Good decision-making is both science and art.

While there are definitely some helpful models and templates available by which one can strategically make decisions, it’s never full proof. Therefore, experience does count.

Your ability to see past the issue that is presented to you and get down to the future impact of your present decision takes experience and discipline.

"When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice."

- William James

The Go Point vs. The No-Go Point

It's true that great leaders are know for making great decisions.  However, making a decision does not necessarily mean a decision to act.  Many times, the best decision is not to act - to walk away; say "No", or delay until more information is available.

the go point

When a leader is pressed to make a decision on the spot, and there is simply no more time allowed to review or contemplate, many times the best decision is to decline. 

The reason for saying “no” is because the risk is too high to make a critical decision without the ability to gather the necessary information. In most cases, the risk will far outweigh the opportunity cost that may also be present by not acting at all.

The Go Point: When It's Time to Decide--Knowing What to Do and When to Do Itthe go point does a fantastic job of pointing out the importance of experience, while also providing decision-making templates, based on principles and tools you can use right away.

Learning how to make quality decisions regardless of the situation is a skill all leaders should seek to develop to build and support a more savvy and disciplined organization. 

One size does not fit all in templates any more than it does in suits or shoes. To be truly useful, a guide should be a tool that is generic enough to apply to all sorts of different situations, yet be specific enough to provide real guidance.

"Good decisions create wealth, happiness and a truly great future."

Useem takes the reader through the delicate subject of decision making by offering a number of memorable stories. In reading these stories you'll get a sense of being inside the heart and head of various leaders who are at a "go point".

In reading this book you'll be taken inside the minds of people during their Go Point, including Hewlett-Packard, CEO Carly Fiorina; Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf; U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace; New York Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr., and many others.

You will ride alongside firefighters to understand decision-making under crisis situations. You'll learn about making decisions with situational complexity during extreme mountain climbing, and you'll talk with survivors of a well-known airplane crash in the Andes. 

The author has made a great effort to interview and observe leaders in a variety of team and organizations. In addition, he walks you through a history lesson of key decisions made during the Civil War, providing more stories that will make you feel like you were there as it happened.

The Go Point is a well written and insightful book that will assist you in understanding the key elements of quality decision-making.

Below you can view Dr. Useem as he provides at talk at the Google campus...

Author Bio

Michael Useem is a management professor at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is the director of its Center For Leadership and Change Management. He makes a point of taking his students to the very ends of the earth – the Antarctic, the Andes, and the Himalayas – to learn about their personal and professional “Go Points”.

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