Decision-making: Don't look back, CDI exec says

Do you find decision-making challenging? I do, sometimes. But there are people who are paid -- and paid a lot -- to make decisions. Those people are called executives, and when I get a chance, I like to ask them how they make decisions. Last week, I posed that question to H. Paulett Eberhart, the chief executive of CDI Corp.

Eberhart leads a $1.1 billion global engineering and staffing company based in Philadelphia with more than 9,000 employees worldwide. You can read my Sunday Inquirer story about the lessons she has learned from bad bosses  by clicking here.

H. Paulett Eberhart

Here's the part of my interview with Eberhart where she discusses decision-making.

"I try to get all the information that I can, but I think there's a trade-off. I don't know what the magic line is, but if you've got 80 percent of the information, or 70 percent, what value is the next 20 percent? I'm very comfortable with looking at the information we can get. I believe in my leadership team, depending upon the level of the decision, and I would have a discussion and I would expect a very open dialogue and discussion.

"I like hopefully to build a consensus, but if we can't, I'll make the decision and we go forward and everyone gets on the field and begins to play.

"I think part of making decisions and prioritizing as I've grown up and come out of college and I've had to and I've been forced to prioritize and you have to make decisions and move on. You have to make decisions and move on. You have to make decisions and move on.

"One of the things my mother taught me years ago is, she said, `Paulett, just in life in general, don't look back. Once you make a decision you move forward. You may have to adjust it or tweak it, but don't beat yourself up over it if you've made the wrong decision.' That has always run through my head."