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Whatcha Gonna Do?

Leaders know how to make tough decisions. How do they do it?

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This story appears in the January 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

What if you had to choose between cannibalism and starvation? Between walking into an icy wilderness and staying behind to face near-certain death? In The Go Point (Crown Business, $25), Wharton Business School professor Michael Useem, author of The Leadership Moment, takes us inside the minds of people who made these and other momentous choices and reveals their thought processes.

Useem goes beyond storytelling to outline tools and techniques used by business, military and other leaders to make and execute critical calls. One five-step summation of how an airplane crash survivor saved himself and 15 companions by deciding to hike to safety goes like this: 1) Stay focused, 2) set the bar high, 3) get back to basics, 4) don't second-guess, and 5) stay cold and calculating.

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