Thursday, April 17, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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.

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

H. Paulett Eberhart
H. Paulett Eberhart Michael Bryant

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.

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."   

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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