S2.E05: Power of Good Judgment with Will Gadd

Power of Judgment with Will Gadd

Is good judgment the most important skill to have when it comes to delivering adventure? In this episode, professional adventure guide and athlete Will Gadd returns to help us to make the case that it is. The power of good judgment is often the difference between delivering exceptional adventures and catastrophic misadventures. Mastering this skill is a must for anyone who wants to deliver adventure to themselves or others effectively.

Will Gadd is one of the perfect people to help us to explore this topic. Will is used to making high consequence decisions for himself and others from ice climbing Niagara Falls, to setting world records for paragliding, to elite-level white water kayaking.

Guest Bio

Will Gadd is a professional sponsored athlete and ACMG Alpine Guide. Among many of Will’s feats are first accents ice climbing Niagara Falls, Helmcken Falls, Icebergs and many other ice climbs around the world including on the top of Mt Kilimanjaro. Will is also a world-class white-water kayaker and paraglider. He has twice set the world record for the longest paragliding flight.

As an elite athlete and professional guide, Will is extremely experienced when it comes to evaluating risk and making decisions that could have serious consequences for himself and the people he is leading, or working with. This makes Will one of the perfect people to talk about the power of judgment.

Guest Links

Contact Will to be your Guide, Instructor or Speaker: https://willgadd.com/

Instagram: @realwillgadd

The Last Ascent, Kilimanjaro: https://www.redbull.com/ca-en/films/the-last-ascent-will-gadds-return-to-kilimanjaro

A Fun Ted Talk: Three Simple Tools to Manage Risk, Fear and Children: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTdFkPTTnsA

Key Takeaways

Why decision making is the most important skill to have and how we can be better at it:

The Difference Maker: Good decisions are what separate great adventures from mishaps and misadventures.

Outcome Versus Process: A good decision and a good outcome are not always the same thing. Just because something worked out doesn’t mean we made a good decision. It could be that we were just lucky.

Power of judgement: Good judgment increases our chances of getting good outcomes, while poor judgment can increase our chances of getting bad outcomes, also known in adventure circles as misadventures.

Self-Awareness: One of the keys to being able to exercise good judgment and make good decisions is the ability to be self aware. A lack of self awareness leads to not knowing what is going on in our own head.  That can lead to us not recognizing what others are thinking.  On the other hand, an abundance of self awareness helps to us know our weaknesses and capabilities. It also helps us to recognize and manage human factors like bias.

Why decision-making is hard: We are often making very consequential decisions with limited information.  Adding to this is the fact that adventure guides and adventure instructors are often making decisions in complex environments with hard to predict weather, and changeable conditions. It can also be hard to know how the people they are working with will perform under stress.

Decision Making Strategies: These include collecting as much information as possible, slowing things down, and stepping away from people so that we can process information. It can also be helpful to avoid setting objectives that can be hard to change, although this isn’t always possible.

Role of a Guide: Overall, the role of a guide, instructor or leader is to reduce uncertainty so that there can be less drama. Excitement feels good, drama feels stressful and possibly much, much worse.

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Photos by Christian Pondella

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Further reading

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S2.E06: Understanding Human Factors & Judgment with Mike Adolph

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S2.E04: How to be the Leader with Erin Tierney

How to be the Leader with Erin TierneyEvery group needs a leader. If you are a professional adventure guide or instructor, there is an expectation that you can be the leader. While being the leader can be fun, it isn’t always easy for everyone.In...

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