Good Judgment: The Key to Better Business Decisions

Making sound decisions in the business world can be a daunting task. However, Richard Davis’s book, “Good Judgment: Making Better Business Decisions with the Science of Human Personality,” offers invaluable insights and actionable steps to help navigate this complex landscape. Here, we distill the essence of the book into key recommendations that can empower you to become a more effective and insightful decision-maker.

Understanding the Science of Personality

Personality traits play a crucial role in determining how individuals behave, interact, and perform in various settings. Davis identifies five core traits that define our personalities: intellect, emotionality, sociability, drive, and diligence. Unlike fleeting emotions, these traits are stable over time and provide a reliable foundation for predicting behaviors.

Key Actions for Better Decision-Making

  1. Assess and Understand Personality Traits
  • Begin by using scientifically validated tools to assess the core personality traits of yourself and your team. This understanding helps in predicting behaviors and making informed decisions about roles and responsibilities.
  • For instance, an employee with high sociability may excel in client-facing roles, while someone with high diligence may thrive in tasks that require attention to detail.
  1. Tailor Leadership and Management Styles
  • Adapt your leadership approach to align with the personality traits of your team members. This personalized approach fosters better communication, increased motivation, and improved performance.
  • If you manage a team with diverse traits, ensure that your management style is flexible. Encourage collaboration among team members whose traits complement each other.
  1. Implement Personality-Based Hiring Practices
  • Integrate personality assessments into your hiring process. This ensures that new hires not only have the necessary skills but also fit well with the company culture and the specific demands of their roles.
  • For example, when hiring for a start-up, you might prioritize candidates who show a balance of vision and teamwork skills, ensuring they can handle the dynamic and often unpredictable start-up environment.
  1. Enhance Conflict Resolution Strategies
  • Use insights from personality science to address and resolve conflicts. Understanding the underlying personality traits involved can help in developing tailored conflict resolution strategies that are more effective and sustainable.
  • For example, if a conflict arises between a highly driven team member and a highly emotional one, recognizing these traits can help you mediate the situation by addressing the root causes and finding a balanced solution.
  1. Promote Continuous Personal Development
  • Encourage continuous learning and personal development based on individual personality traits. This involves setting personal goals that align with one’s strengths and working on areas that need improvement.
  • By fostering a culture of personal growth, you not only enhance your team’s performance but also create an environment where everyone feels valued and motivated to contribute their best.


Leveraging the science of personality can significantly enhance your decision-making capabilities. By understanding and applying these principles, you can create a more harmonious and effective workplace, make more informed hiring decisions, and resolve conflicts with greater ease. Embrace these strategies to cultivate good judgment and lead your team to success.

Incorporate these insights from Richard Davis’s “Good Judgment” into your leadership toolkit, and watch as your ability to make better business decisions transforms your career and your organization.

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