Minority Business Executive testimonial: Lono Dickson

Guest post by Lono Dickson, Minority Business Executive Program Graduate, President of Kalani Packaging.

Lono Dickson“I’ve applied many of the things I learned in the Minority Business Executive Program, but none as pronounced as my decision making process.”

On our last 2 days Professor Bettin talked about the process of making decisions. He explained the different decision making styles, concepts, the decision tree, guidelines, etc. What affected me most was when he talked about the statistics of making a bad decision vs. a good decision when you involve other people in the decision making process.  This seemingly small statement resonated with me because of a fairly recent choice I made in which Kalani Packaging lost a piece of business and some money. I sat in class for most of Friday morning without talking to anyone. I spent most of the morning evaluating the process I had used to make a single decision and the ripple effect it had on that piece of business. After almost 2 hours of thought I came to realize that had I involved some of my core team members in making a decision early on in the project, not only would we have made a different decision, ultimately we probably would have won that piece of business.

Instead we lost it and the cost of many hours of my time.

After coming to grips with that whole thing I then began to evaluate all the decisions I make each and every day I’m at work. The big ones, the small ones, the ones that seem insignificant, which I didn’t really pay attention to because I’m running at 100 miles an hour. I then began the evaluation of how those decisions affect the rest of my team, my schedule, and how many of them could have been made differently and by someone else.

Although this process started on the last 2 days of class, it took a couple of weeks for me to evaluate how I was going to change my style.

After explaining to my team some of what I learned about myself and talking through many scenarios with them, I have made some drastic changes to my decision making style. I now ask several questions of myself before answering any questions asked of me. If it does not pass a chain of criteria that I’ve put in place, then the question moves to the best person on my team to answer it. If it does, then I make sure I have all the information I need to make an educated argument to the rest of my team that will persuade them of my thought process and together we make the decision. This new style takes some adjusting on behalf of other team members because I ask more questions, rely more on their input, and don’t make decisions for them like I did in the past.  I now build a case that has to convince them of where I stand rather then tell them my opinion which in the past was never, ever questioned.

I’m a different decision maker today than before the program. Our team and ultimately Kalani Packaging, is stronger today then before the Minority Business Executive Program.