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How would you describe your organization’s decision-making style?

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SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 170,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each Tuesday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How would you describe your organization’s decision-making style?

  • Autocratic: One person makes decisions with little input: 19.33%
  • Democratic: Majority tends to rule: 6.98%
  • Participatory: People have a say, but one person makes the decision: 66.96%
  • Consensus: We don’t make a decision until everyone is on board: 6.73%

Balancing speed and risk. Decision making is simply a trade-off of speed and risk. Risk of, first, getting the decision right, and second, having it executed well because people are bought into the decision and support it. Autocratic is fast but has buy-in risk. Participatory is slower but gets much more buy-in. Be careful that your organization doesn’t get in a rut of using only one style of decision making, because certain decisions require different styles. Be more focused on choosing the right style for the decision at hand so that you move swiftly without sacrificing support after the decision is made.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS and author of “One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership.”