In 1919 Leslie Irvin made a decision. He decided to jump from an airplane. He wasn’t the first to jump from a plane; and it wasn’t even the first time he jumped from a plane – in fact he had been jumping for five years.

But on April 28, 1919, Leslie did something no one had ever done before.

He made a premeditated, free-fall, parachute descent with a pack on his back. After he left the plane, he pulled a ripcord to deploy the chute, and he broke his ankle when he landed.

Before this, parachutes were deployed from canisters on the plane. This had become the standard approach in the fledgling flight industry as a safety measure for pilots.

So imagine when Leslie jumped – with no attachment of any kind to the plane – hoping his new parachute would open.

He took the kind of jump that day that most of us wouldn’t take – on many different levels for many different reasons. But that jump led this young stuntman into business – a business that continues today as the Irvin Aerospace Company, specializing in parachutes and other life saving equipment.

While Irvin didn’t design the new parachute or the process, he did make a critical decision – whether or not he would make the jump. In retrospect, given the short synopsis I have just shared, it seems the jump was absolutely the right decision, yet at the time, I’m guessing nearly everyone thought it was crazy, rash, or just plain stupid. (Can’t you just hear Leslie’s mother saying, “You are going to do what?”)

There are hundreds of decision making tools available; however, in honor of Leslie and his fate-filled jump, here’s a simple acrostic to help you be more thoughtful and complete about the decisions you make – large and small.


When making decisions, you need to JUMP!

J udge
U sing
M ultiple
P erspectives

You will make better decisions when you consider the situation from a variety of perspectives. What would others think, how would others respond, and what would their reactions be?

The various perspectives you consider in different situations likely will be quite different (perspectives on deciding where to go on vacation versus deciding on which job offer to accept would probably vary widely, for example), but the approach holds.

Whether it’s a highly structured review or a quick overview, considering multiple perspectives will provide you a new vantagepoint from which to make your decision.

Uses of JUMP

You can JUMP on any type of decision, but here are some times when JUMP-ing might be especially helpful.

Considering a change? Perhaps your organization or team wants to change a procedure or approach. Rather than taking your own beliefs as your sole determinant, be open and ask questions of others. Consider their perspectives as you consider your choices related to the change.

Leading or proposing a change? Multiple perspectives here is critical both to proposing the best change option and to communicating it successfully to others. You will communicate and lead change most effectively when you communicate it from the perspective of others. You can’t do this very well if you haven’t taken a JUMP.

Making a critical decision of any sort? Looking at it from a variety of angles will help you make a more informed, and likely better, decision.

Trying something new? Consider the advice and perspective of experts in the area, and perhaps non-experts as well. A multitude of perspectives will offer a more balanced view to consider the risks and rewards to your new idea.

Leslie Irvin jumped from a plane in a new way, something most of us will never do (in a new way or not!). While we’ll never know how he made that decision, we all can make better decisions – and honor his spirit – by making a JUMP, judge using multiple perspectives.

Potential Pointer: Decisions are made every day, usually relying on past experience, intuition and quick judgments to decide. Some decisions, especially those relating to new ideas, are better decided after an intelligent JUMP rather than jumping to conclusions.

Author's Bio: 

Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. You can learn more about him and a special offer on his newest book, Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at