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Make fewer and better long-term decisions...by scaling the team.

March 25, 2018

There are always two broad growth areas to focus on in scaling a healthy company:

  • The business (revenue, margins, cash) and;

  • The people (technical skills, personal growth, health and wellbeing).

In driving growth, it's quite easy to take our eye off the people and if this persists it can have dramatic consequences for the company.

 

Leaders making too many decisions...

 

One main area that can get neglected is that, as the company grows, short-term operational decisions continue to be made at the highest levels in the company as well as the long-term strategic ones. With the following consequences...

 

  • The leadership team makes worse decisions (both tactical and strategic)

  • The leadership team becomes a choke-point for the company's execution

  • Morale and engagement falls among the rest of the team

In this case, information is being moved to authority and then the team waits for decisions to be made. Often the context of the information is lost by the time the senior team receives it, so poor conclusions are arrived at and inaccurate decisions may be made. The leadership team also has little time to attend to the long-term strategic decisions - which by their nature take more time to consider - and the company may lose opportunities and may be even it's strategic advantage.

 

Move authority to information...

 

Decisions are always best make closest to where they have the most impact...and that means careful delegation of decisions.

 

But often we are afraid of letting go...here are three suggested steps to help.

 

  1. Inventory the decisions that are a frustration, take valuable leadership time (and you silently wish could be made by someone else)

  2. Identify who could be making those decisions

  3. Ascertain whether they have the credentials to make good decisions. Specifically do they have the:

  • The technical skill

  • Organisation clarity (are they well grounded in "how we do things here": the company's values and purpose)

If some training is needed then there's no short cut: Invest in whatever coaching / training is necessary - it's time well spent!

 

4. Entrust the team member(s) with the decisions

5. Establish a feedback check-in mechanism to make sure that the team members are ok.

6. Let go!

 

Yes. This will take a little time if the leadership team is making most of the the tactical and operational decisions as well as the strategic decisions...may be even several months. However...

 

The consequences are well worth it...

 

  • staff more connected to the heart and soul of the company

  • better quality (and faster) tactical decisions 

  • faster execution and (likely) more opportunities able to be captured

  • better quality long-term strategic decisions: leaders now make fewer decisions but they have have the quality time necessary for analysis and discussion around the big issues that will impact the company long-term.

Best wishes.

Ian.

 

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