Posted: July 15th, 2010
The Harvard Business Review recently made a post titled Five Ways Pixar Makes Better Decisions. It’s an interesting post about how to go about making really great decisions. It made me think about how we make decisions at Creative B’stro where I work. Below is a comment I made on that post, I thought I’d share it here:
This is something I think about a lot. Everyone where I work is smart, talented and hard working.
We’re not a huge company, but we’re not so small that one person can make all the decisions for the company. There are just too many decisions made everyday. Some small and some large. We have to find ways to allow everyone in the company to make decisions intelligently.
I’d say we tackle this with some basic core principles that seem to work for us. Although, my colleagues might tell you something different. Anyways, here goes:
- The least experienced and knowledgeable team members are given constant exposure to the thinking behind decisions made by the more experienced and knowledgeable individuals in the company. This helps everyone to learn why a decision is made and in turn arms everyone with the knowledge they need to make future decisions. There isn’t much back-door decision making going on. It’s very transparent.
- We have strong company values and philosophies that guide us. We do not have tons of specific rules and policies. Stick to the company philosophies and values and you’ll be fine making decisions.
- We let people make gradual decisions. What I mean is that they start off making their own decisions on smaller things that will have a smaller impact on the business (less risk). If they make a mistake they’re educated on why, but they’re not chastised or punished for it in any way. As they gain more experience they’re given more leeway to make bigger decisions. We always try to keep people just slightly out of their comfort zone so they can grow.
I’d be very interested in a book on this subject. Although we’re a relatively successful small business, there is always more to learn and making great decisions is rarely easy. Pixar makes a wonderful case study for us, because they’re in a similar line of work as we are (advertising and animated films have a lot in common).