Who makes the important decisions in your organization? Strategy, product development, budgeting, compensationsuch 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.
|Publisher:||Mann, Ivanov and Ferber|
|File size:||1 MB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
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 importantand more funthan 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.
What People are Saying About This
“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.”
“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