Alex Terrazas Reflects on Harvard Leadership Program

Alex Terrazas, City Manager of Los Banos

Attending the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Leadership Decision Making (LDM) Program was an amazing experience. I am extremely grateful to the California City Management Foundation and the City of Los Banos for providing me this opportunity. The LDM Program was a week long program taught by Harvard University faculty covering topics ranging from Decision Science, Negotiations, Ethics and Decision Making, Behavior Change and Conflict Resolution. The LDM faculty were truly experts in their fields and provided both an academic as well as practical perspective.

As City Managers we are expected to make hundreds, I’ve never really counted, of decisions in a day/week. Some of our decisions are made quickly (System 1 Thinking) and others are made more methodically and analytically (System 2 Thinking). The LDM Program helped me to understand what influences my decisions, how I influence the decisions of others and how to create workplaces that encourage good decision making.

The LDM program gave me a new set of tools and knowledge to better understand the decision making process. I also now better understand how I impact decision making in my organization and how I can create an environment where better decisions can be made. At the LDM program we learned about becoming Decision Architects. What this means is building organizations and work environments that encourage good decision making.

The class participants were from all over the world and from a variety of organizations. Participants were foreign diplomats, United States Military Base Commanders, leaders of nonprofit organizations, a media relations expert and Department of Defense employees. This diversity of participants added to the overall experience.

Attending the Harvard Kennedy School LDM Program was an incredible experience. I highly recommend this program to anyone considering attending. Since returning from the program I’ve found several ways to put into practice what I learned at the LDM Program and am confident that I will continue to look for more.

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