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The Decision Maker: Unlock the Potential of Everyone in Your Organization, One Decision at a Time Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Length: 225 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews


“Companies are fond of saying their greatest asset is their people, yet few companies operate as if this is the case. In this engaging story, Bakke shows us how to unlock the latent potential that exists in any organization.”
-- Tim Jenkins, co-founder, Point B Management Consultants

“Imagine an organization where bosses don’t make decisions. Sounds crazy, right? Read The Decision Maker and you’ll be surprised and inspired to try it for yourself. It’s a must-read/must-try for everyone — leaders, managers, and individual contributors in any organization. It just might be the solution that reconciles generational and attitudinal gaps in the workplace today.”
-- Atsuko Tamura, la presidente and CEO, evo

From the Inside Flap

Who makes the important decisions in your organization? Strategy, product development, budgeting, compensation—such key decisions typically are made by company leaders. That’s what bosses are for, right? But maybe the boss isn’t the best person to make the call.

That’s the conclusion Dennis Bakke came to, and he used it to build AES into a Fortune 200 global power company with 27,000 people in 27 countries. He used it again to create Imagine Schools, the largest non-profit charter-school network in the U.S.

As a student at Harvard Business School, Bakke made hundreds of decisions using the case-study method. He realized two things: decision-making is the best way to develop people; and that shouldn't stop at business school. So Bakke spread decision-making throughout his organizations, fully engaging people at all levels. Today, Bakke has given thousands of people the freedom and responsibility to make decisions that matter.

In The Decision Maker, a leadership fable loosely based on Bakke's experience, the New York Times bestselling author shows us how giving decisions to the people closest to the action can transform any organization.

The idea is simple.

The results are powerful.

When leaders put real control into the hands of their people, they tap incalculable potential. The Decision Maker, destined to be a business classic, holds the key to unlocking the potential of every person in your organization.

Product Details

  • File Size: 391 KB
  • Print Length: 225 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0983263329
  • Publisher: Pear Press (March 5, 2013)
  • Publication Date: March 5, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BE64MAI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,845 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got my copy of The Decision Maker today, and quickly sat down and read it cover to cover. This is an incredible book with a lot of real world strategies. How can real world solutions come from a fable? Simple, all of the lessons contained come from the real world experiences of Bakke at AES, Imagine Schools and other business experiences. I run a small business, with a couple part-time employees and contractors. If I had just read another management book telling me what happened at another large company, I would have said, "Yep, another book about big business." But because this is a fable, it gives you the creative license to make applications to your organization. As I read the dialog, surely it came from real world conversations within the walls of large business, but because of the "fable" format, I could hear these conversations occurring among my staff.

Specifically, I learned how altering my decision making power structures, even within my small organization, can potentially transform some of the tension and difficulties we experience. I learned methods of approaching others, how to explain new strategies and implement these ideas. Yes, it is fiction, but anyone reading it should be able to see how the concepts were born in real world experience and can be applied to any organization (which is why I would presume, a fiction format was chosen - to broaden the applications).

All in all, a great read, I call it an airplane book. Get on a flight, kick back, and a few hours later, you will get off the plane a better manager and more effective leader. I also read Bakke's book, "Joy at Work" and together they are essential tools for any business owner or leader. I am a student at Bakke Graduate University, which is named after the Bakke brothers. I have also read Ray Bakke's books and they are awesome too!
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Format: Hardcover
Business-fiction, the genre that this book falls into, is like a double-edged sword. It requires a nice balance between business and fiction so that it does not sound either like a business manual or a complete fiction. The Decision Maker finds a good business-fiction balance thanks to its easy to read structure and business case free tone.

I believe that The Decision Maker is a good introduction to the discussion of how decision making can be thought conceptually and how it can contribute to the long-term success of a company. It is a great read for what kind of obstacles that a company can encounter while trying to change traditional ways of doing things. It recommends a firm commitment to an idea no matter what short-term hurdles block the way forward.

In my opinion, Dennis Bakke could further elaborate on the relationship between "expertise" and being a "decision maker". Being a decision maker usually requires the skill to "zoom-in" and "zoom-out" on a topic simultaneously as well as evaluating different stakeholders` priorities. Mere "expertise" should not justify being a potential "decision maker", therefore some other skills could have been further discussed such as analytic skills, stakeholder management competence and so on.

All in all, I believe that The Decision Maker is a great introduction to a very bold idea, i.e. delegating decision making to employees, which can create happier and more engaged employees that can eventually lead to a successful company. The book is also worth reading to think through how change management can be so painful and rewarding at the same time.
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Format: Hardcover
Business books normally concentrate on clarity, being concise and providing case studies. The business novel, one that puts ideas into the context of a plot, are rare and too often devolve down into contrived situations, flat characters and preachy plots. Not this book. The best business novel around it Goldratt's classic, the Goal. Dennis Bakke's The Decision Maker comes close to that standard and is highly recommended.

The Decision Maker is a business novel that presents new ideas on the way organizations work. It's a book that describes MedTech, a fictitious company where the new owners decide to treat people differently. Rather than assuming people are human inputs into company processes, the protagonist assumes that their people are unique, creative and trustworthy to make decisions on their own rather than deferring decisions and responsibility to management. Supported by an "advice process" the book then illustrates how this process works for good and for ill.

The book is a good read, fast paced, clear and illustrative of the ideas of a flatter, more decision oriented organization. If you are looking to understand what it means to go beyond empowering people, then this is a good book to consider.

Overall, highly recommended as a way to begin to think differently about the nature of work, management, responsibility and accountability. This does not mean that the book does not have its strengths and challenges, see below. Overall it's a good introduction of a powerful idea in a novel and engaging way. Well worth your time to get the ball rolling, but not enough meat to call you into action.


The book provides the background story and support developing the ideas and principles of decision-making.
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