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JANUARY 2010

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Exercise Your Judgement

By Jim Ruta, BA RHU
Director, GAMA International Canada

“You are paid for your judgement.” This was one of the best pieces of management advice I ever received.  It came from S. Ross Johnson, formerly president of National Life and Prudential of America in Canada. I still use it today and you can too.

Your management judgement comes into play many times during the day:

  • Dealing with staff
  • Recruiting
  • Selection
  • Planning
  • Recognition
  • Joint selling
  • Discipline

There are many others, but these are the most common ones. The trigger here is that when you realize that your judgement is on the line, you tend to use it more carefully and honestly.  This is what Ross was trying to tell me.  Pay attention.

For example, when dealing with advisors and staff, ask yourself questions like: What is my best judgement about whether this recruit can be successful? What is my best judgement about the ultimate potential of a slow starting advisor? What is my best judgement about whether this sale will persist? What is my best judgement about whether I will achieve my goals this month? What is my best judgement as to whether this staffer or advisor can be saved?

Confederation Life managers used to do weekly “forecast and review” sessions. The idea was to be right with your forecast, not optimistic or pessimistic. “Jim, would you bet your house on this forecast?” It really made you think. That’s judgement in action.

Your success comes from the quality of your judgement.  Good judgement develops from good decisions. Good decisions are learned from bad ones.

Judgement is like a muscle, it requires exercise.  Consciously exercise your judgement every day and your success will grow and strengthen with it.


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