Examine the Consequences

Remember that judgment calls are subjective and debatable. They rely on opinion as well as facts and figures. That is not to say that they rely on hunches or prejudices to make decisions. Using either (or both) does not take into account the objective realities of a situation. Let's go back to the example of the food pantry. Once you have impartially looked at the situation and the facts surrounding it, the judgment call as to whether to limit those who can visit it, remain open as usual, or close the pantry down comes down to an opinion. Half of the committee believes they are providing a valuable service to the community and should continue to do so even though some people are taking advantage of them. Others believe they can't prevent visitors from selling the food they are giving away, so they should close. You could probably form a strong argument for either case, but what if you had to make a choice?

One way to help make such as decision is to focus on the consequences. Will anyone be helped or harmed by the decision? Weigh the value and term of the benefit or detriment—is it a convenience or inconvenience, or does it result in a long-term effect? If all options will result in some negative action or result, which is least negative? Putting your answers into a graphic organizer, such as a chart, can help you to weigh your options.

For example, an employee of a large accounting firm notices that her company is falsifying the financial records of a client, which happens to be a multinational corporation. Should she report the wrongdoing and risk losing her job, or say nothing, and allow criminal behavior to continue? We will explore both options on a chart found on the next page.

By exploring her options, the employee understands that whistle-blowing could result in possible short-term negative effects for herself (unemployment). Of course, the other consequence is that the wrongdoing would stop and the criminals who falsified the records would probably be punished. In effect, she might save shareholders of the client's company millions of dollars.

If she says nothing her career will be secure. However, there is a risk that someone else outside the company will discover the wrongdoing. If that happened, there could be major consequences not just for the person who falsified the records but for the entire company. The employee needs to carefully weigh the options in terms of possible consequences before she makes the judgment call.

Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion

To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them

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