TOMS Founder Shares the Value of Using Good Judgment

Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS, remembers how his own personal judgment shaped the direction of his company and his life.  Blake shares his perspective on The First Tee Core Value judgment with the junior players and Champions Tour players at the Nature Valley First Tee Open: The value of judgment, in and of itself, can be pretty intimidating.  Rather than simply looking outwardly at others, which is likely what most people think of when they hear the word “judgment,” when I think about this value, I remember the time I used my own personal judgment early on when starting TOMS. Whenever one chooses to do something significant – whether it’s starting a new business, a new job, changing a course in life – it takes a great deal of introspection and self-analysis. This was definitely the case with me back in 2006.  When I decided I wanted my business life to be about more than just making money, it clearly became a judgment call for me.  I asked myself questions like, “What kind of impact do I want to make on the world?” and “How can I most help the people in need without compromising my beliefs and my other values?” There have been so many challenges over the past seven years at TOMS – moments where critical decisions about the direction of the company needed to be made.  For better or worse, these decisions were made by judging the positives and negatives and parties involved as well as the potential outcomes.  In 2011, as we launched the second One for One product, TOMS Eyewear, a lot of people wondered why.  Some even told me TOMS didn’t need to do it and it was an unnecessary risk at the time.  We knew in our hearts that it was the right thing to do – to help more people, sure – but also to stay true to our values. And we haven’t looked back since. Understanding what is important to you is so essential in developing good judgment, as it was and is with me to this day.  Make no mistake – it takes an entire lifetime to develop and hone the truly important value of developing sound judgment.  Once you do, though, it becomes so much easier to make important decisions, big and small. –Blake Mycoskie, CEO, TOMS