Two titans of effective leadership, Noel M.Tichy and Warren G. Bennis, have identified the fundamental essence of leadership as the ability to make consistently good judgment calls, especially when the stakes are high, informa- tion is limited and the right call is far from obvious.

The authors of Judgment clarify an important concept that is often misun- derstood. Many assume that good judgment is an inborn trait, but Tichy and Bennis show that it’s actually a skill that can be developed, refined and nur- tured throughout an organization.

Leaders do, at some moment, make a judgment call, a determination about how things should proceed. Judgment resides at the core of leadership. The authors explain that judgment is a contextually informed decision-making process encompassing three domains: people, strategy and crisis. And within each domain, leadership judgment follows a three-phase process: preparation, the call and execution.

Leaders are remembered for their best and worst judgment calls. In the face of ambiguity, uncertainty and conflicting demands, the quality of a leader’s judgment determines the fate of the entire organization.

Tichy and Bennis show how to recognize the critical moment before a judgment call, when swift and decisive action is essential, and also how to exe- cute a decision after the call.

This summary provides ground rules for leaders. Whether they are running a small department or a vast corporation, the authors’ insight will help leaders achieve greater success by exercising good judgment.