Like a group of friends: How to make smart decisions in a growing company

Decision Making

Today, I’d like to share some insights about decision-making. At Testbirds, this is the first of our four “principles of organisation” – which we call “Orga 4.0”. As we’ve grown, we’ve needed to consider how to maintain a flat hierarchy without compromising our ability to make decisions efficiently. Who should be the decision-maker? Is that always the responsibility of the founders? Surely not. Majority vote? Also not. Middle management? We don’t have it and we don’t believe in it (see my previous article on that). Instead, we asked ourselves how the best decisions are made: by having all the relevant information, being able to understand the consequences of your decisions and aiming for the best outcome for your team and the company as a whole.

Without following a traditional structure, how should we organise a business? What would we do in our private lives? I know that if I were to make a decision for my friends, I would ask those involved for their opinions, take them all into consideration and then decide on what follows.
Why should this also not apply for a company? It only made sense that we implement a similar decision-making process that follows an advice process. Where the person(s) with the most relevant information make decisions by taking the opinions of those involved into account.

It works like this: when someone has an idea, they try to validate it with someone else in the company, who is impacted by it. After confirming a need for the proposed change, they then ask those affected for advice, by forming small groups with just one representative from every affected department. This facilitates discussion and feedback and ultimately enables the group to make informed decisions together.

How this looks in practice is: whenever someone has an idea for a new service, they ensure that a representative from development, sales, project management and marketing weigh in on the matter. HR or the founders are consulted about any legal or budgetary implications along the way. When the details have been finalised, the decision is communicated to the company and executed.

To further improve this process, I’d like to know what you all did in your respective companies. Did you implement a similar process and if so, how well has it worked?

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