Posted: November 09, 2010

The final simple idea to improve your business culture

It's all about decision-making

Lisa Jackson

This is the first in a series of concrete, proven tips that will improve your business culture to create a more aligned, responsible, and adaptive organization. Read part one and part two. 

Foster clear decision making.

Is your company plagued by "consensus disease?" This is a pendulum swing from an "autocratic" era, in which a leader desires to seek everyone's opinions but there is no clear process by which that input is used. In some cases "who" makes the decision isn't even clear. In today's world, consensus is often confused with "group decision making." The true use of consensus should be rare: Instances where taking time to create full understanding of an issue because of the need for complete buy-in.

The best approach in day-to-day business is "consultative decision making." In this approach, ONE person retains the right to make the decision - AND it is clear they are the decision maker. However, they choose to consult with experts or opinion leaders to inform their best decision.

The second part of clear decision making is a consistent, step-by-step decision making process that drives decision-making into the hands of those who are closely connected to the marketplace. The more decisions are held at the top, the slower-moving the organization is, and less responsive to market feedback. However, empowering people to make decisions is an evolution, and is enables by the "success theme" and crisp, focused meeting practices described in the earlier segments.

Making small changes in an organization's decision process can and does work miracles - you end up with a culture that is more engaged AND more capable of responding to shape-shifting, high-speed environments, as well as seeing opportunities that may have been missed otherwise.

We hope this series has helped you see that culture is not mysterious territory nor is it about fixing a dysfunctional personality.

It is a series of small improvements to everyday business practices that creates a more aligned, responsible, and adaptive organization.

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Lisa Jackson is a corporate culture expert on assessing, defining, and improving culture's impact on business performance, especially during mergers and strategy shifts. Look for her new book "Fit to Compete: 9 Truths for Transforming Corporate Culture" this fall or visit her on the web at http://www.jacksonandschmidt.com.

 

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