Business Eye: Think about judgement day

Alex Pratt
Alex Pratt

One thing that a couple of decades sitting on the Bench as a Magistrate teaches you is that being certain about too much in life is a bit of a fool’s game.

The best you can hope for is the wisdom to get more judgements right than wrong.

Avoiding the need to be right is a key skill that they bang home early on in your judicial training.

You weren’t at the incident in question; all you have to go on is the evidence presented to you; so all you can do is weigh this up including the credibility of witnesses and come to your best judgement on the facts.

From the outset there is no pretence at even trying to be right, just a clear focus on forming a fair judgement in light of the evidence.

It so happens that there is no better an attitude than this to develop as an entrepreneur.

Two people witnessing entirely the same event will very often give conflicting accounts.

Assuming both accounts to be given truthfully, if the event was identical but differing accounts ensue, these differences must surely stem from the minds of the two individuals and not the incident itself.

The key to this phenomenon is that we each tend to see only that which we are looking for, with other activity in the moment passing us by unregistered.

Ever driven somewhere and arrived to realise that alarmingly you can’t remember the trip because you were engrossed in thoughts about your family or a pending holiday?

This is why travel and exposure to different cultures and alternative perspectives are so powerful in breeding better business judgements.

If you can’t get beyond the narrow need to be certain and are unable to operate at the level of your “best judgement”, you are less likely to benefit from sound, more rounded judgements.

Take for instance the question of Europe and our membership of the EU club.

There are many who support it and many, such as UKIP who are certain that it is bad news and damaging to our economy and the fabric of 

Look farther afield to the streets of Kiev last week and Ukrainians were literally laying down their lives to fight for closer ties with it. Who is right?

To believe yourself right without doubt, you must believe so many others to be wrong.

Do you really believe you are that special?