Predicting the "Verdict"

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Freddie E. Jenkins
  • Commander, 45th Medical Support Squadron
I am not a lawyer in any shape
or form nor do I claim to be; however
I have exploited some legal
terminology to assist with developing
a tool for those of us faced with
critical decision making as squadron
commanders, superintendents,
etc. as we strive to accomplish the
Despite the organizational environment,
some would say leaders
of all types are expected to anticipate
the outcome of any situation
during peacetime and war. True?
Before answering, try to remember
a time where having preemptive
information on a possible end-state
that influenced decision making
without exploring alternatives. Did
this work? Was your commander
receptive? Depending on the outcome
you may or may have not felt
that all courses of action (COAs)
were identified during the problem
solving process. For example,
define and identify, analyze, identify
solutions, evaluate, develop, and
implement (recommend). I like to
call this process "predicting the
verdict" of your commander.
Predicting the verdict of your
commander is done by identifying
a solution post evaluation of
its effectiveness. Don't be misled
by just recommending a course
of action and expect concurrence
without providing pros and
cons of the execution. Seek the
perspectives of peers. In some
cases, you will not have this luxury.
Therefore, consider any risk
involved in decision making. Be
prepared for your initial COAs
being denied or disapproved by
providing at least three alternatives
and support your arguments.
Additionally, you want to predict
the boss's decision by asking yourself
any anticipated questions and
provide answers for each; good or
bad. In other words, you are predicting
the response or "verdict"
from leadership.
Don't make impulsive decisions
without validating the situation
and identifying the facts. Most
importantly, deter any surprises
to senior leadership. Do your
investigation, not to the point of
constructing a research paper,
but try to predict short-term and
long-term alternatives that can
help the commander make the
best decision. Lastly, if you make
recommendations to the boss,
take responsibility for any action
that lead to your alternatives
and acknowledge any mistakes
and learn from them. Remember,
integrity is one of the core values
that earns respect and promotes
leadership. So, move forward with
predicting the commander's verdict
by recommending achievable COAs
resonated from solid critical thinking.