This One Change Instantly Frees Up Your Calendar

by Lisa Bodell for [email protected]

A few years ago, a group of managers at the pharmaceutical company Merck Canada decided to stop making decisions that their direct reports were already authorized to make. The goal was to empower people and encourage accountability — and the results were powerful.

Employees who once looked for cover began taking responsibility for their own decisions. They were more invested in making a wise choice in a timely manner, and they felt more ownership over the outcome. And managers found themselves with several hours of newly freed-up time every month.

At many companies, the failure to clarify who should make which decisions drags down decision-making and execution. If firms devote less time to managing the matrix, they have more time to do work that matters.

During a conversation I had with SAP’s Chief Product Strategist Jeff Woods, he explained that SAP “did a simplification study with Wharton to understand technology and complexity. In the research data, we asked employees what kind of complexity was holding them back. People cited decision-making and process complexity more than technology complexity. It’s not the tech itself but how it’s used that’s creating the complexity.”

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