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April 18, 2017 marked the 75th anniversary of the dramatic bombing of Japan that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor. On that day in 1942, at 8:20 in the morning, 16 B-25 bombers under the command of Jimmy Doolittle took off from the USS Hornet 750 miles from Japan.  In 1942, most experts found the notion of America—a county ill-prepared for any sort of warfare—making a direct assault on the Japanese superpower almost inconceivable. FDR disagreed.

Pop quiz here:

  • Do you sometimes second-guess yourself about decisions until opportunities pass?
  • Do colleagues and clients frequently seek your opinion on their big decisions?
  • Do you often get feedback on the quality of your contributions in meetings?
  • Do those meeting ideas produce the results you intend?

Like artists, wise leaders analyze and focus on a situation or problem. Then they decide and act. And even then, as theologian and author Oswald Chambers put it: “It’s never wise to be cocksure.”

Ever find yourself on a team or in an organization that’s struggling because of a leader’s poor decision? Citizens clamor about such crippling effects by their politicians routinely. You sit back and reflect on the leader personally and wonder why a savvy, experienced, and ordinarily capable person could make such a stupid decision or policy—one that wrecks a project or destroys the morale of so many people.

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