Black and White Program

Talking Shop with George Davison

May 9th, 2008 by John Eastman

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If you have created something that serves others better, chaos occurs because the competition isn’t going to just lie back and let you take their market share.

Chaos is the competition in business?
DAVISON: Yes. Of course the competition is trying to overcome your plan and what you have created. If you have created something that serves others better, chaos occurs because the competition isn’t going to just lie back and let you take their market share. We are constantly rolling out new technologies and processes and then adjusting our people accordingly to serve our customers better than the competition can serve customers.

How successful was the paintball team you were on?
DAVISON: Our 10-man team was the number one ranked paintball team off and on for several years. We won the World Cup and most of the other major cups. Our five-man team won every single major five-man tournament of any importance in the world for quite a long time. But the success in my opinion was not the trophy, but was our bond together as a team and the improved products that are now available to make paintball a better experience for everyone today.

I’m a collector of information from everybody that I can get my hands on that’s exposed to what we’re trying to do. It all gets pulled in, processed mentally, and then I’ll roll out a final decision.

You brought up decision making before and I want to talk about that for a moment. How would you describe yourself as a decision maker? A unilateral or a consensus-type individual?
DAVISON: I am both. I’m a collector of information from everybody that I can get my hands on that’s exposed to what we’re trying to do. It all gets pulled in, processed mentally, and then I’ll roll out a final decision. So, it’s more like the troops in the front lines feed data back. I interpret it. I might interview or bring some other people in to say, “what do you mean by this?” to make sure the communication is understood properly.

We also collect information monthly from our company. We have what are called Discovery Sheets. We ask everybody about what they’re seeing in the market and what they’re are bumping up against. We collect all the Discovery Sheets; the managers in the company review every single one of those. They then have to write up a report on each of them, which are sent to me for review. Sometimes it leads to major advancements in the company. That’s one way.
George Davison interview
There are other areas, though, where I don’t ask for input. There are certain things I do for the company. This is my passion. I think about this stuff twenty-four hours a day — even in my sleep. I get out of bed and I’m making notes in the middle of the night. So, it’s occupying my conscious and subconscious mind. For an example, why should we build this creative facility called InventionLand that we work in today? There was some resistance to that one from some people. From their standpoint, they thought only of themselves; some were thinking if we don’t build this facility we’ll have higher paychecks. But I have a bigger responsibility to the overall commitment of the business plan and the mission of the company. I can come to certain realizations about the company before others because I have the global perspective on it. Many people in the company know their areas well, but I know all areas of the company well. I see how all the pieces of the machine fit together, and I can see where to tweak certain pieces to make the overall machine run more efficiently. And I often realize things before others because I have a passion for what I am doing and all the information coming in to me for processing and decision making. So, if it’s an area I’m focused on, I really don’t need a lot of people to get in there and say this is the right move, boss. I’m looking; I’m always kind of searching. If my gut and head are meshing up and saying it’s right, I go with it.

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