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How rigid is your organization’s decision-making hierarchy?

1 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 150,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each Tuesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week we asked: How rigid is your organization’s decision-making hierarchy?

  • Most power is consolidated at the top but some decision-making occurs at lower levels, 44%
  • Decision-making power is distributed evenly according to capability and scope of responsibility, 30%
  • We are a true command-and-control environment — all decisions come from the top, 24%
  • Our hierarchy is very flat and decision-making power is broadly distributed, 3%

Consolidating decision-making power at the top cuts both ways. It can reduce risk for your organization by vesting that power with more senior and experienced people. It can also frustrate junior members of the team and slow down your decision-making process because everyone has to wait for a few people to make decisions. To achieve a better balance, evaluate decisions based on their size and risk. Push that decision-making authority as low in the organization as you can without increasing risk too much. You’ll be nimbler with less frustration and not as much risk as you might initially think.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of ThoughtLeaders.