Thursday, March 26, 2009

The case for top-down

I'm sometimes accused of being an advocate for "bottom-up" organization solutions. I think I'm only accused of it because I advocate for it so often.

I don't think there's enough acknowledgement of the capabilities of your staff. They are severly under-utilized. If you've got staff then yes, I'm talking to you.

Good decisions get made when there's lots of diverse thought and consideration, not when an expert determines they know best. Diversity trumps specialists every time.

But there I go again, arguing for bottom up.

In this post I wanted to say something nice about top-down.

Our organizations need structure. They need purpose - a pre-defined understanding of what we're going to do together. Organizations can be aided tremendously by having someone clarify how things are going to get done. Employees desperately would like to know what success looks like. That's top down and it's valuable.

The big mistake is using top-down authority on the wrong topic. Top-down isn't to manage behaviour and the way people work. It's to define broad boundaries and to TRUST staff.

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