The Decision Maker: Unlock the Potential of Everyone in Your Organization, One Decision at a Time [NOOK Book]

Overview

Who makes the important decisions in your organization? Strategy, product development, budgeting, compensation—such key decisions typically are made by company leaders. That’s what bosses are for, right? But maybe the boss isn’t the best person to make the call.

That’s the conclusion Dennis Bakke came to, and he used it to build AES into a Fortune 200 global power company ...
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The Decision Maker: Unlock the Potential of Everyone in Your Organization, One Decision at a Time

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Overview

Who makes the important decisions in your organization? Strategy, product development, budgeting, compensation—such key decisions typically are made by company leaders. That’s what bosses are for, right? But maybe the boss isn’t the best person to make the call.

That’s the conclusion Dennis Bakke came to, and he used it to build AES into a Fortune 200 global power company with 27,000 people in 27 countries. He used it again to create Imagine Schools, the largest non-profit charter-school network in the U.S.

As a student at Harvard Business School, Bakke made hundreds of decisions using the case-study method. He realized two things: decision-making is the best way to develop people; and that shouldn't stop at business school. So Bakke spread decision-making throughout his organizations, fully engaging people at all levels. Today, Bakke has given thousands of people the freedom and responsibility to make decisions that matter.

In The Decision Maker, a leadership fable loosely based on Bakke's experience, the New York Times bestselling author shows us how giving decisions to the people closest to the action can transform any organization.

The idea is simple.

The results are powerful.

When leaders put real control into the hands of their people, they tap incalculable potential. The Decision Maker, destined to be a business classic, holds the key to unlocking the potential of every person in your organization.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As the former CEO of AES, a Fortune 200 global power company, and cofounder of Imagine Schools, Bakke (Joy at Work) had a simple idea: “Treat people like people, not machines.” The result was so successful that Bakke has penned a fable to help managers “unlock the full potential of the people around them.” This charming parable draws on Bakke’s leadership experience, tracing the journey of a fictitious company, MedTec, from a traditional top-down decision-making enterprise to a company at which leaders put control in the hands of their people. The story unfolds as MedTec’s new owners begin to discover issues that threaten the company’s health. As they embark on a plan to empower everyone from HR to line managers to administrative assistants to make decisions, they encounter many obstacles along the way. Anger, skepticism, fear, and resistance plague all parties—including the owners and their investors, at different times—but in the long run, allowing people closest to the action to make decisions proves transformational. Knowing that the entertaining, ultimately rosy story is grounded in Bakke’s real-world experiences adds credibility to the narrative; the work’s engaging style is sure to inspire and captivate leaders and managers who wish to transform not only their businesses but also their employees’ lives. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

“Smart organizations are beginning to recognize that the secret to engagement is to provide employees ample autonomy, the opportunity to make progress, and a sense of purpose. Dennis Bakke brings these principles to life in a modern business fable with ample lessons for building successful organizations from the ground up.”
-- Daniel Pink, author of DRIVE and TO SELL IS HUMAN

“Companies are fond of saying their greatest asset is their people, yet few companies operate as if this is the case. In this engaging story, Bakke shows us how to unlock the latent potential that exists in any organization.”
-- Tim Jenkins, co-founder, Point B Management Consultants

“The work’s engaging style is sure to inspire and captivate leaders and managers who wish to transform not only their businesses but also their employees’ lives.”
-- Publishers Weekly

“There are many things to like about Dennis Bakke’s latest book, The Decision Maker .It is insightful, it is well-written, it is a breeze of fresh air in the management literature. Bakke’s principles are simple—share the power, and let people have fun making decisions—but like it is often the case, these simple principles can have a groundbreaking impact. Read The Decision Maker and change your outdated conceptions of what management ought to be.”
-- Frédéric Godart, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, INSEAD

“Imagine an organization where bosses don’t make decisions. Sounds crazy, right? Read The Decision Maker and you’ll be surprised and inspired to try it for yourself. It’s a must-read/must-try for everyone — leaders, managers, and individual contributors in any organization. It just might be the solution that reconciles generational and attitudinal gaps in the workplace today.”
-- Atsuko Tamura, la presidente and CEO, evo

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780983263340
  • Publisher: Pear Press
  • Publication date: 3/5/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 339,313
  • File size: 596 KB

Meet the Author

Dennis Bakke is the co-founder of Imagine Schools. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Joy at Work: A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job. Bakke previously co-founded and served as the president and CEO of AES, a Fortune 200 global power company. He lives with his wife in Arlington, VA.
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Read an Excerpt

Introduction
Nothing tells you more about an organization than the way it makes decisions.

Do leaders trust team members? Do the people closest to the action get to make the call? Do team members have real responsibility and real control? All of these questions can be answered by one other one: who gets to make the decisions?

And nothing affects an organization more than the decisions the people in it make.

Great business minds know this. In fact, decision-making is at the heart of all business education. Nearly a hundred years after the case-study method was invented at Harvard, it’s still the foundation of the world’s best business programs. Why? Because the case-study method puts top business students in the role of decision-maker. Over the course of a Harvard MBA, students will make decisions on more than 500 cases. Decision-making is simply the best way in the world to develop people. And real-life decisions are more important—and more fun—than any case study.

But outside of business school, few business leaders tap into the value created by putting important decisions in the hands of their people. Instead, “team players” are taught to do what they’re told. This takes the fun out of work, and it robs people of the chance to contribute in a meaningful way. Or, organizations will use a participatory style of decision-making in which recommendations are given to the boss, who then makes the final decision. This approach also fails to fully realize the value of the people in the organization. What I am talking about is quite different. In a decision-maker company:

• the leader chooses someone to make a key decision
• the decision-maker seeks advice (including from the leader) to gather information
• the final decision is made not by the leader, but by the chosen decision-maker.

At AES, an energy company with 40,000 people in 31 countries, and at Imagine Schools, the country’s largest non-profit charter school network, I have had the good fortune to give thousands of people the freedom and responsibility to make decisions that matter. The idea is simple: treat people like people, not machines. When leaders put control into the hands of their people, at all levels, they unlock incalculable potential.

The Decision Maker is a fable, loosely based on my own story, that shows how the ideas that transformed AES and Imagine Schools can transform any organization. The events are fiction, but the passion, purpose, moral questions, and common sense are rooted in decades of my own experience. These ideas can affect the bottom line: cutting-edge research indicates that a decision-maker culture improves financial performance. But it’s not just about the numbers. It’s about people: what makes them tick, and what they can achieve when they’re given real responsibility and real freedom.

One other thing: The Decision Maker is founded on the idea that all of us can make good decisions. So this story is not just for people who currently lead organizations. It’s for managers at any level who want to unlock the full potential of the people around them.

No matter where you stand in your organization, change can start with you.
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