Using The Experts You Already Have - November 16, 2014
This is a Speech I wrote for Intro To Management as a means of presenting a key idea I learned in the process of writing my research paper which discusses the advantage of having a flat/lateral hierarchy and empowering your employees to make decisions.
Professor Meheden, Fellow Classmates,
If you are the head of an organization, chances are that you desire to see it flourish. This being the case, I have to ask: Why are you making all of the decisions? More specifically, what qualifies YOU to make ALL of the decisions? Naturally, you will be making decisions about the direction of your organization, the strategy of your organization. But why are you making decisions about the minutia – the smaller things in running your organization?
The fact of the matter is, you are not an expert on every job in your organization. If you have offices in more than one location, then you are certainly not an expert in the nuances of the various clientele your organization serves, nor are you an expert in the personalities and interactions of the teams of staff you employ within your organization.
That being said, I have fantastic news: you DO have people within your organization who ARE experts in all of those things and more. Now, you may be asking “Who are these experts, and how is it that they are on my payroll without my noticing?” Well, sirs and madams, you yourselves hired them and put them there: they are your staff at every level.
You have staff who interact with customers every day of the week. It does not take too long and these employees come to know who the regulars are, the demographics of that offices clientele, what products or services are in demand and more. You have managers who interact with the staff on a daily basis and knows who is good at what, who has untapped skills, who interacts well with who, and on and on. There are staff that know and understand the systems in place, who have a pretty good idea of what works well and what does not. You have a staff filled with experts.
Why then are you, a non-expert, making all of the decisions when you have a team of experts that can make those decisions on your behalf?
I recognize that this may be an unsettling thought – giving some of your decisions making power to those you employ. You may be asking yourselves, “what would happen if I did that?” Let me tell you what is likely to happen.
If your front-line management can make decisions on their own without needing to consult their managers who need to consult you – decision making can happen faster. New ideas can be tested faster and changes in the internal and external environments can be responded to faster. How is it faster to have your employees make decisions rather than have you make decisions?
Consider how long it takes for a front line manager to find time to contact the division manager who has to find time to contact the store manager who might have to contact the district manager who has to find time to contact you. Then you have to make a decision and relay it back down that chain. It could take days!
Not only will giving your employees power to make decisions result in decisions being made faster, in many cases it will result in better decisions being made. As I said earlier, your employees are experts in what they do and who they work with. They often will have a much better idea than you as to whether or not something will work, or what the most effective way to do something will be. They may even have ideas born out of the context of their work that will never occur to you.
The result of faster decisions and responses and better decisions is increased productivity. If the environment changes, your employees do not have to wait for your go-ahead before they stop expending company resources down an ineffective avenue. They can do it immediately which means greater efficiency and effectiveness for your organization.
##Conclusion In conclusion, if you are making nearly all of the decisions in your organization, it is time to stop and start relying on the team of experts that are already on your payroll. Thank you.