In 2011, Jack Pattison started Pattison Enterprises LLC, a specialized company designed to teach businesses and organizations how to make better decisions – decisions that would save or make money, and that could be made much quicker in a structured environment than they previously had been made.
How do you know that you might need our assistance? In a nutshell, the more “yes’s” you answer in the following questions, the more we can help.
1. Do you get stuck in day-to-day work and never find the time to chart out where you want your company or organization to go in the long term?
2. Do you find that simple decisions take far too much time to make and that difficult decisions often seem so complex that you never make them?
3. Do you find that parts of your company do not know what the other parts are doing?
4. Do you make decisions “by the seat of you pants,” using fluffy subjective criteria instead of tried and true objective analysis?
5. Do you have to make all the decisions in your organization by yourself because your subordinates do not know how?
6. Do you find that many of your decisions are sub-optimal, in that the solutions do not save you time, do not save you money, do not make you money or do not give you an advantage over your competition?
If you answered “yes” to at least three of these questions, keep reading and then contact us right away. If your decision-making is already expertly done, leave this section and go back to the fun part of the website!
In essence, what the company has done is to take the proven decision-making techniques of the old Prussian General Staff (General Helmuth von Moltke), that were subsequently modified over the years by General Douglas MacArthur, General George Marshall, General Omar Bradley and General Brehon B. Somervell (chief of all Army logistics in World War II), based on decision-making techniques they had first learned at West Point and the Virginia Military Institute and later refined at the Army General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and the Army War College.
More recently, that decision-making process has been taught over the course of an entire year at a place called SAMS.
We both attended SAMS (School for Advanced Military Studies), in 1988-1989. This “enormously rigorous” graduate school at Fort Leavenworth has a small, but diverse student body; graduates are colloquially known as “Jedi Knights.” The school provides its graduates with the skills necessary to deal with the disparate challenges encountered in contemporary military and government operations, producing “leaders with the flexibility of mind to solve complex operational and strategic problems in peace, conflict, and war.”
Various senior military leaders have recognized the contributions of SAMS’ graduates in support of global contingency operations since the school’s inception. The first class started in the summer of 1983, under the direction of Colonel Hube Wass de Czege and graduated 13 students. In 1988, there were 52 graduates. Due to the proven track record of these officers and the skills they have acquired, the Army expanded the school and in 2010, the graduating class comprised over 120 students.
Since that first class graduated, SAMS’ planners have supported every major U.S. military campaign, providing the Army “with many of its top campaign planners for the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.”
In essence, we have “civilianized and commercialized” this tried and proven method of decision-making, tailoring it to help you save money and time on decision-making, so you can get ahead of your competitors. Jack added facets of his education, while a captain, in organizational effectiveness, while I have added historical examples for teaching purposes of how the decision-making process could have been used to obtain better results in real-world examples.
What We Do
Pattison Enterprises does three things extremely well. The first is the aforementioned decision-making training. This consists of a visit to your organization’s location and training your personnel (and you if you have the time) how to use this decision-making technique to help your company make better decisions. The first half day is a seminar, where we show you the fundamentals of decision-making and present at least one historical event to show how using this technique would have made for a much better outcome than what actually occurred when spur-of-the-moment, “gut feelings,” amplified by incorrect fact gathering and poor assumptions, led to some pretty bad results.
Then we go the extra mile – to ensure that your team retains and is able to use this decision-making process. That is a second half-day in which we take a hypothetical problem – associated and related to your line of work – and divide your personnel into two problem-solving teams to conduct a practical exercise. Under our supervision and guidance, these two groups will analyze the assigned task, for specified and implied tasks, gather facts and make assumptions, and develop courses of action. We will show them how to weigh evaluation criteria (and then they will weigh criteria based on their experiences) and in general how to wring out as much subjectivity as they can as they decide which course of action is best. We finally have them address risk management to ensure that this key criterion is a part of your decision-making process. That does two things for your organization. It trains your folks on how do make the right decisions and it provides two solutions (one per group) for a real life challenge you have. When we left one organization after training, the chief executive there said that the decisions we guided his teams to address in that one afternoon would have taken them two weeks of constant work and $40,000 in salary costs to achieve — an instant savings in time and money right from the start! Here is one slide from a historical example we use of bad versus good decision-making — the Titanic.
Based on client wishes, we have developed a second option reference decision-making training to give you even more “bang for the buck.” With adequate lead-time, at your request, we can substitute a real life decision to be made by your organization instead of a hypothetical problem in the practical exercise. It might be a question of company expansion, changing the way you do business, developing a method of hiring people or any other significant planning challenge; if you can conceive of a decision to be made, we can teach you how to analyze it.
We can do one other function for you in the realm of decision-making. Let’s say that several months after your company has gone through the training, you encounter a particularly complex decision to be made base on the myriad of changing challenges you face in the real world. Don’t let change be your enemy; use it to your advantage. Contact us and we can return to your company, and organize and facilitate your decision-making team to address this pressing issue. Your lifeline (which we’ll explain in the decision-making seminar) is just a phone call or email away.
Improving Organizational Effectiveness
Another line of work our company does is analyzing organizational effectiveness (OE) – how effective your organization is in achieving the outcomes (goals) you intend to produce. Organizational effectiveness certainly captures economic valuation, but also measures communicative competence, ethics, use of time and recognition of superior performance.
At your convenience, Pattison Enterprises comes to your location and works with you in developing metrics, interviewing your personnel and examining your procedures and outcomes. Let our fresh eyes (Jack, with respect to OE and I as the former Inspector General of the Army in Europe and a professor at the National War College) see what you and your organizational leaders may have missed.
We can also help you write a strategic plan for your organization, identifying resources you will need and decisions you may need to make to take your organization to the next higher level over the next three to ten years. Once you set goals, you can allocate resources and plans to achieve them, avoiding wasted effort and squandering time and money.
Whether your organization has six personnel or 60,000 you have a team to build and maintain. Many Fortune 500 companies have enlisted the support of former Chiefs of Staff of the Army and other Services, as well as other generals, to lead these private sector teams across military battlefields to address leadership challenges and how these military examples of success can be translated to commercial success. We do the same thing — at a fraction of what you will pay for a retired four-star. Save your precious cash reserves to put back into your business and let Jack and I teach you the same thing on your schedule — not just when someone from Washington, DC can fit you in!
Getting You a Head Start
At some point, your hard work and talent is going to pay off and you will be offered a position of increased responsibility — and hopefully increased pay and benefits, as well! It is pretty much predictable that your first 30 days in the new job will determine whether you continue that success or the boss decides that you may be in over your head. Part of achieving success quickly is asking the right questions concerning the new job BEFORE you take over, and taking certain steps that will let everyone know that you know what you are doing. We will sit down with you and go over the 15 question areas that you need to ask your prospective boss; you NEED to know the answers in all these question fields, so we can help you avoid assuming any type of hidden budget crisis, equipment shortages or personnel problems. Sure, the politicians can blame everything on the person who was in the job before them, but in the real world it’s your responsibility from the first day on the job; get it wrong and not only could you lose the job, but also result in financial penalties. Let’s go through one area right now. We call it: Who Is Your Boss?
During your interview process, you will get strong indications from the new company organization or company that you are perfect for their needs. About that time, a senior interviewer (hopefully the person with hiring authority, who can tell you those magic words “The job is yours,”) will ask you: what questions do you have of me? That’s where you start your important questioning. Will you be working for one person, more than one, or perhaps a whole committee? Who sets the standards if it is more than one person? When will your new boss sit down with you and go over management goals and expectations? Will you have any input to that conversation? How often will you have contact with your new boss (daily, weekly, not at all, by reports only?) What is the system for your boss to rate your performance? How often does that rating occur? Do you have input to that rating and if so, what type is it? Do you get to see this report or is it not available to you? Who compiles the report? (You want that to be your boss, not your boss’ subordinates who are your competitors and who may write your report to hurt your chances at further advancement.) Who, in the company or organization, has access to read reports about you? What agencies outside your company receive information about you from the reports? Are you told when someone receives this information? When you leave the organization, what will happen to the reports about you?
That’s a whole lot of questions in just the first of the 15 areas, but don’t worry, we will go over all of them with you so that when the time comes to ask these questions “for “real” you are ready to do so. Our job in all these areas is to make you a success in your new position — because you’ve earned it.