The 2018 Olin Business magazine shared a series of vignettes featuring alumni faced with a business decision requiring them to weigh data with their values. We featured these stories to support Olin’s strategic pillar focused on equipping leaders to confront challenge and create change, for good. This is one of those vignettes.
Data and values are important in making big decisions, but as Cash Nickerson, JD ’85, MBA ’93, points out, “there are really very few momentous decisions.
“We make hundreds of decisions in a day,” said Nickerson, an author and president/principal at PDS Tech Inc., one of the largest engineering and IT staffing firms in the United States. “Many are trivial. But many of the trivial decisions come back to you in one form or another.”
Nickerson thinks in terms of a “structure of thought,” a muscle he’s developed so those everyday decisions are still based on data and values. “What fascinates me more than how someone makes the big decisions is the algorithm an executive uses for making the everyday decisions,” he said.
For him, that algorithm focuses on people.
“I like to think of myself as very numbers driven as well as values driven,” Nickerson said.
“My philosophy is that I wake up every morning and remind myself of the uniqueness of humans. To me, it’s a value to treat each person as an individual.”