Chapter 9Deferring Judgment


Deferring judgment is the Big Five behavior that perhaps gets misinterpreted most often. We forget to focus on the word defer and somehow replace it with eliminate or avoid. Sometimes that leads us to the point of view of “I know we're not supposed to be too judgmental, but if you don't judge things how can you figure out what's best?”

To be able to refine, analyze, and make great decisions, you do need to have a healthy dose of judgment. You must evaluate and understand what things won't work as you implement innovative ideas. However, all of that necessary judgment should come a bit later in the innovation process. How much later depends on the process itself, although most of our clients are surprised at how just a few minutes of deferring judgment can enrich the thinking and the pool of ideas and possibilities a team gets to work with.

So the active word here is defer. This behavior is really about that first move—the question of “What is the first thing I do when something new comes my way?” What I found to be of value—and what I suggest others practice—is to simply put some space between the moment that the new information comes our way and the beginning of the judgment process. To defer is simply to wait a bit. During that time and in that space judgment limits possibility and potential, while deferring judgment multiplies possibility and potential. ...

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