In most organisations decisions and directions flow from the top. Sometimes they are centralized in a leadership team and at other times in the leader themselves. Over time this approach stifles the innovation fire, initiative and enterprise of the junior and younger members of the organisation. It makes people start to become order takers and executors.

We know that most people at work have infinitely more potential to contribute than they actually bring to their work. How can we unleash this energy and potential and empower the teams to own and think like leaders ? How can we make everyone in the company feel and act as if they are the leader and the leadership team ?

One simple mantra can help go a long way – let the doers be the deciders.

Whoever actually does the work is closest to the market, the consumers and the opportunity. Whoever actually makes the goods and services that your company sells actually has the best understanding of what works and what does not. So why not use this expertise and knowledge to make the right decisions.

Make a default principle – the doer will be the decider. Some examples to bring these to life

For instance in sales, it would make more sense for leadership to define a broad framework and guidelines and let the salesperson on ground make the actual decisions on sales, assortment, promotions, delivery and strategy.

In finance, the leader should define the control mechanisms ( eg audit, monthly review) etc and then allow the teams to operationally take calls on payments, receivables, driving better profitabililty.

In manufacturing, the leadership should set the quality and safety guidelines and then allow the plant manager and his team to take daily, weekly and monthly decisions to improve the plant output and efficiency.

When the leader gets a question in front of them for a decision, they must ask – “who is the doer here ? who is best suited to make this decision” . Then go and pose the question – “if you can decide what will you do”. 

If the leader gets a question from a junior member offering 2 options, the leader must ask back “ what do you think ? what if I was on long leave and you had to decide – what would you do  ?”

Over a period of time the leader must make a note of “good decision makers” in the organisation. These are people who are careful, take inputs from a wide range of people and then make decisions with speed and conviction. The leader must delegate more and more decisions to this team. 

The ultimate goal is for the leader to make only one decision – who to hire and promote in the organisation. All other decisions belong to the doers.

Empower your team. Unleash their potential. Let the doers be the deciders.

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