When to Decentralize Decision Making, and When Not To

Harvard Business

Hence, when (re-)designing the organization structure, they tend to decentralize decision-making, so that decision rights are as close as possible to the people who deal with customers, competitors, front-line employees, and other stakeholders. As Henry Mintzberg noted in The Structuring of Organizations in 1979, “The words centralization and decentralization have been bandied about for as long as anyone has cared to write about organizations.” Artrise/istock.

9 Reasons Your Leadership Development Program is Failing

Nathan Magnuson

companies invest over $2,000 in leadership development initiatives per company leader. Just because an organization has a leadership development program doesn’t mean it’s successful, does it? Some executives don’t place a high value on investing in leadership development. That’s one reason it’s important to start developing the leaders at the top of an organization first. A recent Bersin study reported that U.S.

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Five Qualities Genuine Leaders Have in Common

Leading Blog

And with today’s digital economy and globalized markets making organizations more and more decentralized, it’s getting harder than ever for workers to create meaningful relationships with others. And they create space for others to find purpose for themselves and develop their full potential.

New Leadership Literacies

Lead Change Blog

The tired practices of centralized organizations will become brittle in a future where authority is radically decentralized. Noted futurist Bob Johansen, author of The New Leadership Literacies , envisions that, through technology and digital interconnectivity, future organizations will become distributed, not just decentralized, and be required to “shape shift” in the midst of disruptive market conditions.

How This Crisis Will Change the Future Of Leadership

Lead from Within

Times of crisis show us the value of decentralized leadership, and the ability to create a network of talented experts with access to good data is fast becoming an essential leadership skill. Those in charge will be tested in areas where they have not fully developed their skills, and many leaders, old and new, will need coaching to help them navigate the qualities they’ll need to be successful.

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6 Ways Leaders Can Dial up the Level of Value in the Workplace

Michael Lee Stallard

Decentralize decision making. Many firms over the last hundred years decentralized decision making. Decentralization gained momentum when Peter Drucker persuaded Alfred P. to decentralize decision making at General Motors Corporation. This management approach combines a high degree of team-based training, autonomy, decentralized decision making, and responsibility for continuous improvement.

All You Have to Do Is Ask

Leading Blog

Baker offers much more specific advice and examples throughout but let me mention two tools that have proven effective that Wayne Baker and Adam Grant have developed. Platforms like Givitas allow people to get what they need without having to repeatedly tap all the same experts or all the usual go-to people because requests are decentralized and broadcast across the vast network. I F WE ARE HONEST with ourselves, we know there are times we need help.

Building Community Around Your Blog: Community Outside of Your Site

Managing Communities

photo credit: gotosira For part two in my series on building community around your blog, I want to talk about community decentralized – or community that is built on websites that you do not own or control. Tags: Community Cultivation Developing Your Community How Should I Participate?

A New Era for Global Leadership Development

Harvard Business Review

The realities of globalization, with increasing emphasis on emerging markets, present corporate leaders with enormous challenges in developing the leaders required to run global organizations. This approach worked relatively well for companies selling standard products in developed markets, but as multinationals transition into truly global organizations relying on emerging markets for growth, it's far from adequate. That requires developing many leaders capable of working anywhere.

Leadership and Mentoring

N2Growth Blog

I’ll take this one step further by also being very blunt; Your obligation as a leader is to develop people to the best of your ability which hopefully leads to people reaching their full potential. All successful organizations create a culture where the acquisition, development, implementation, and transfer of skills and knowledge are highly valued. Ownership : Don’t view mentoring as just another development initiative and pass the buck to HR.

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Extreme Ownership

Leading Blog

They cover four critical concepts that enable a team to perform at the highest level: Cover and Move (to move as one), Simple (keep plans and communications simple), Prioritize and Execute (avoid target fixation on a single issue), and Decentralized Command (leaders at all levels must be empowered to make decisions). And when we don’t we need to look at our own contribution. * * * Like us on Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas. * * *.

How to Optimally Align IT with Your Business Processes?

Strategy Driven

For the IT architecture to be effective, it should be between centralized and decentralized. Balance between Centralization and Decentralization. To apply and appropriate balance between centralization and decentralization, the information pyramid can be implemented. This approach is developed by Aloys Kregting, who was entitled as CIO of the year twice. IT is an important subject for any organization and it becomes increasingly interwoven with business operations.

Creating Great Choices

Leading Blog

The idea is to create a two-sided dilemma from a general problem like whether to use a centralized structure versus a decentralized structure or consumer needs versus shareholder expectations. Of Related Interest: How to Develop Integrative Thinking. Integrative Thinking: The Opposable Mind. * * * Like us on Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas. * * *. O FTEN WHEN FACED with a problem we see only a single solution or perhaps none at all.

How Saying Less Can Empower Others to Say More

Skip Prichard

Quite suddenly I was forced to develop a new approach to management and leadership that involved a lot less talking. When it’s hard to talk, you develop strategies for doing less of it. Some might worry that this decentralized approach could lead to a lack of focus or systems discipline, but in my case, just the opposite occurred. This is a guest post by Kevin Hancock, CEO of Hancock Lumber.

YESability: Driving Growth with Yes

Leading Blog

Then relies heavily on centralized control and specialization, whereas now relies heavily on decentralized autonomous action.” YESability is important for developing leaders at all levels. Strive always to say yes to customers. * * * Like us on Facebook for additional leadership and personal development ideas.

The Real Reasons Companies Are So Focused on the Short Term

Harvard Business

In particular, there are three widespread, interrelated structural trends that have fostered short-termism and reduced corporate innovativeness: increased hiring of outside CEOs (particularly from the late 1980s through the 2008 recession); the decentralization of R&D (over a similar time frame); and a focus on the “development” side of R&D rather than the “research” side. Instead of decentralizing R&D, recentralize it.

Top CEO Challenges

CO2 Business Leadership

Setting a culture of adaptability via decentralized decision making. Complex Minded: It is not enough nor sufficient to develop your ability to increase your competencies and skills you must develop yours and your teams form of mind to handle the complex. By: Gary Cohen.

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Culture Counts

Leading Blog

I was struck not only by their disciplined approach but also by their freedom to discover, develop and design within broad operating parameters—conditions I did not typically associate with large, for-profit corporations. Corporate America has had no shortage of heroes: Kellogg, Hewlett, Disney, Packard, Kroc, Watson, Ash and Iacocca. These leaders come to mind as examples of lions that have emblazoned their names as corporate giants.

Beyond The Basics: The 10 Best Ways To Fine-Tune Your Leadership

Terry Starbucker

But it’s essential for long-term success to develop those skills, and quickly. Work with, not against, the 2 contradictions of leadership - It’s a big balancing act that pays big dividends; there must be clarity in roles and responsibilities to allow for the right kind of productive dissent , and a team needs to be centralized with respect to direction, but decentralized with respect to execution.

How to Seize Opportunity in a World of Disruption

Skip Prichard

Thus, this mindset must be deliberately developed and nurtured by senior leaders – and exemplified in their own behaviors. Its goal is to seamlessly meld centralized vision and planning with empowered decentralized execution – where everyone is encouraged to exercise disciplined initiative, improvise, innovate, and take smart risks in accomplishing a shared goal. Risk management is now a fully-developed rich scientific discipline. Navigate through Change.

How Chinese Companies Can Develop Global Brands

Harvard Business Review

To many skeptical consumers in developed markets, Brand China still means lower quality. Beijing-based telecom security company NQ Mobile has gone so far as to create a separate headquarters in Texas for its developed-market business, managed by an American co-CEO and entirely comprised of American employees. China leads all emerging markets with 89 companies on the latest Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s largest.


Care for a white-water ride?

N2Growth Blog

Because of the complexities, we can always find excuses: Organizational developments did not always have the impact as expected, or employees/leaders turned out to be less suitable for the job than hoped for. Making plans flexible means that organizational developments and career plans have to be adjusted more frequently than we were used to. Developments of global network organizations.

4 Lessons from the Toyota Crisis

Leading Blog

Thoroughly consider alternative solutions, then pick a path, develop a detailed plan, and execute with discipline and energy. Lesson 3: Even the Best Culture Develops Weaknesses. To survive the weaknesses that inevitably develop, a corporate culture has to have clear and objective standards, codified in such a way that self-correction is possible. And there is a balance to strike balance between centralized and decentralized, local and global that is not easy.

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How to Get Experts to Work Together Effectively

Harvard Business

This approach is evident in, for example, agile software development methods. These teams are characterized by broad, open sharing of expertise and by decentralized decision making. Whether centralization (star structure) or decentralization (wheel structure) leads to better team performance has been a long-standing debate in team management. We studied how expertise was organized in 71 software development teams in a large U.S.

Imagine a Future Where Africa Leapfrogs Developed Economies

Harvard Business Review

In one scenario, Africa leapfrogs the developed world to become a manufacturing and economic powerhouse. This change then produces a flexible, decentralized, 3-D printing black market where goods are capable of being produced quickly, outside the control of large companies, and using resources near at hand. Dreaming about the future creates dissonance.

Happiness and Hierarchies


One of the developing branches of psychology is the study of happiness: positive psychology. Zappos does this through a rigorous career development process, whereby employees can choose their career, enlist in training programs that serve as prerequisites for those positions, and be assured that the will eventually move along the career path they desire.

The Strategy Execution Disconnect

Six Disciplines

Their assertions: They discovered that almost half of the leaders surveyed—49%—do perceive a gap between their organizations' ability to develop and communicate sound strategies - and their ability to implement those strategies. There is a proper balance of centralized and decentralized responsibility required to achieve the strategy. A while back, OnPoint Consulting's survey yielded insights into what causes the strategy-execution gap.

‘Upskilling’ a top priority for the decade ahead

HR Digest

It requires employers, educators, government administrators, and not-for-profit organizations to come together to develop plans to help people become more resilient, capable, and agile. This diverse network of more than 400 organizations is working together to create an open and decentralized public-private data infrastructure connecting a global audience of business, government, education, and technology vendors.

Centralized Decision Making Helps Kill Bad Products

Harvard Business

Engineers and managers toil for months, often years, to conceive, develop, and launch new products. Thus, centralized firms more quickly rid themselves of unsuccessful products – almost twice as fast as their more decentralized peers. Therefore, decentralized firms may have delegated termination decisions to a product manager, to whom the underperforming product might look satisfactory, centralized firms are more sanguine and ready to pull.

The Hidden Costs of Initial Coin Offerings

Harvard Business

These ICOs are nearly always held when a project is at an immature stage of development akin to a seed stage startup — when it is testing hypotheses around its consumer value proposition and forming a founding team. In this framing, the native tokens issued through the ICO are the means through which users transact between a decentralized network of participants without the need for any central organization or platform. Renee Comet/Getty Images.

Happiness and Hierarchies


One of the developing branches of psychology is the study of happiness: positive psychology. Zappos does this through a rigorous career development process, whereby employees can choose their career, enlist in training programs that serve as prerequisites for those positions, and be assured that the will eventually move along the career path they desire.

Future Leadership

Marshall Goldsmith

Are there “best” ways to develop current and future leaders? Leadership development is becoming closely aligned with and used to support corporate strategy. Issues such as globalization, decentralization, and the rapid pace of today’s marketplace have forced companies to evaluate the way they operate. Best-practice organizations view the leadership development process as an increasing source of competitive advantage.

The 3 Stages of a Country Embracing Renewable Energy

Harvard Business

At the same time, we’re also seeing the decentralization of power production. While regulatory policy, implementation, and rollout may differ from country to country, decentralization typically encompasses three phases. During this first phase of development, the total contribution of renewable power generation hovers below critical thresholds. This seems like the natural end-game for the broader decentralization patterns we’re observing.

Do You Speak the Language of Performance Driven Execution?

N2Growth Blog

Chair, Organizational Development, N2Growth. The combination of these six words, derived from Latin, translates into an executable language leaders can use to overcome the challenges in overall organizational performance and development. Novo: Change the Lens of Thought-leadership and the Approach to Professional Development. The steps in this paradigm act as a Grand Strategy: Development of measurable strategic objectives with a timeline (Future Picture).

How to Expedite Innovation: Communication Loops & Red-Tape-Worms

Mike Cardus

Excessive ‘decentralization’ or ‘centralization’. Corporate Team Building creativity Exponent Leadership Process innovation Management manager training communication innovation training managerial accountability organizational development red tapeIf you are a manager you know that challenges can be overcome by solid people and systems. Below is from the Exponent Leadership Process – Created to make you the reason people continue great work and stay with your company.

Limit Cyberattacks with a System-Wide Safe Mode

Harvard Business

To stay ahead of new intrusion techniques, companies need to adopt decentralized cybersecurity architectures, armed with intelligent mechanisms that will either automatically disconnect from a breached system or default to a “safe mode” that will enable them to operate at a reduced level until the effects of cyberattacks can be contained and corrected. So far, it seems that companies pay little heed to cybersecurity during product development.

“Leadership is Marketing” – Peter Drucker Said What?

Tanveer Naseer

Byrne’s list of Drucker’s major accomplishments included: Introducing the idea of decentralization, a concept that became basic to every large organization in the world. As he mentioned in his guest piece, he was the first graduate from the PhD program Drucker developed and taught for practicing executives at Claremont Graduate University. The following is a guest post by William A. Cohen. Peter F. Drucker was a genius.

To Drive Digital Transformation, Focus on People

Strategy Driven

These revolutionary developments required equally revolutionary changes, including more truly global firms, whole new industries, new ways of organizing enterprises (think first GM and then GE), new ways of working (email, virtual global teams), and more. organizational structure (such decentralizing and aligning technology to business areas more effectively), and governance. It’s an unrelenting focus on developing the best leaders at every level of your enterprise.

Transforming a Management System – A Case Study From the Madison Wisconsin Police Department

Curious Cat

Top leaders required to develop a plan to demonstrate their advocacy for Quality Leadership methods and the goals of the transformation. Along with a plan to transform into a more customer-oriented organization that was internally collaborative and deeply listened to both employees and citizens, Madison developed a leadership style they called Quality Leadership. A mission statement is developed by the management team and shared with the department.

Why the U.S. Is Still Richer Than Every Other Large Country

Harvard Business

has a more developed system of equity finance than the countries of Europe, including angel investors willing to finance startups and a very active venture capital market that helps finance the growth of those firms. We also have a decentralized banking system, including more than 7,000 small banks , that provides loans to entrepreneurs. A decentralized political system in which states compete.

Nathan Magnuson's New Book Teaches, Inspires And Builds Your Confidence

Eric Jacobson

By now, I've spent about a decade in corporate leadership development. Maybe they read a book, attend a talk or participate in a development program at work. First, it's to decentralize leadership expertise by demonstrating how we can all become leadership experts - starting right where we are. New to your leader role? Or, already a leader, but looking to hone your skills?

Commanding Excellence with Purpose, Passion, and Ingenuity

Leading Blog

After that, all distractions were eliminated or deliberately deemphasized, and a playbook was developed to codify the mission. The mission-focused structure was decentralized from the standpoint that each commander was given great freedom to execute, but they were also expected to cooperate with the decentralized companies and share everything with other teams. Morton credits the structure working because it was developed and built around strengths.

Two Easy Ways to Boost Employee Engagement

Michael Lee Stallard

This concept helps maximizing employee potential by encouraging trust through transparency, decentralizing decision-making and inverting the organizational hierarchy.