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#4: Push Decisions into the Organization

Professor Dachner Keltner’s research at University of California–Berkeley shows that “power leads people to process information in shallower ways and to make decisions that are less carefully reasoned.”4 At the edges of the organization, team members are closer to the marketplace and to customer needs. They are also well aware of what processes are not working effectively and efficiently. And, most important, they know how to fix them.

An architecture firm that had reached capacity could not hire any new architects, and had a huge project backlog. The entire organization met in small groups of 30 people to identify what was working, what wasn’t working, and what to do about it. They came up with more than 150 process improvement ideas. Over the next year, the teams were empowered because they found the solutions and implemented the ideas. As a result, revenue grew by more than 90 percent while costs increased only 35 percent.

The answers are in your organization. Ask your teams to find the solutions. Bring together interested parties and stakeholders, brainstorm the issues, work together to find a solution, and then stand back and let the teams deliver the results.

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