Many executives take pride in quickly making judgment calls. But what Paula Rosput Reynolds learned in an arduous year as vice chairman and chief restructuring officer at the embattled AIG was the value of a carefully formed opinion.

"People are so eager to take high-profile situations and summarize them and put them in a box. You just can't label AIG," says Reynolds, who left the post in September. "I'll be a better leader in the future by not being so quick to embrace labels."

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