Whether it’s an economic downturn or a global pandemic, all managers and leaders must, at some point, face challenging times and make difficult decisions. During The PPAI Expo general session on Monday, “Leading Through Adversity,” PPAI President and CEO Dale Denham, MAS, hosted a panel of industry leaders to share how they’ve led during tough times.
On stage, discussing mistakes and lessons learned, were Dawn Olds, MAS, senior vice president of operations at distributor HALO and incoming PPAI board chair; David Nicholson, president of supplier PCNA; Rosanne Webster, chief information officer at SnugZ USA; and Thomas Goos, MAS, president of distributor Image Source.
Diving right in, Denham asked each panelist: What was the biggest mistake you’ve made and what did you learn from it? For Nicholson, it was how he was trying to improve a company, Bullet Line Promos, after its acquisition 15 years ago. “Bullet was doing well but was having consistent quality and service challenges. We never could seem to get it on track,” said Nicholson. After a tremendous effort of trying to improve processes and systems, Nicholson said it wasn’t getting better. “What I learned from that and what ultimately got us on track is, rather than focusing on the process and system, we weren’t focusing enough on the people. Start with the people.”