Business leaders are recognizing the need to change their traditional leadership paradigms and re-think how and who makes decisions in their organization. General Stanley McChrystal, who ran Joint Special Operations Command in Iraq and Afghanistan, talks about how he had to change his thinking about decision making to effectively lead.
“We grew up in the military with this [classic hierarchy]: one person at the top, with two to seven subordinates below that, and two to seven below that, and so on. That’s what organizational theory says works,” he explains. Against Al Qaeda, however, “we had to change our structure, to become a network. We were required to react quickly. Instead of decisions being made by people who were more senior–the assumption that senior meant wiser–we found that the wisest decisions were usually made by those closest to the problem.” - General Stanley McChrystal, Secrets of Generation Flux, Fast Company
Distributed decision making isn’t just applicable in the battlefield–it’s changing business, too. The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz talks about the impact of distributed decision making in the growth of Starbucks:
“Early on I realized that I had to hire people smarter and more qualified than I was in a number of different fields, and I had to let go of a lot of decision-making. I can’t tell you how hard that is. But if you’ve imprinted your values on the people around you, you can dare to trust them to make the right moves.” ― Howard Schultz, Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time