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The Decision Maker: Unlock the Potential of Everyone in Your Organization, One Decision at a Time Hardcover – March 5, 2013
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-- Daniel Pink, author of DRIVE and TO SELL IS HUMAN
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
The work’s engaging style is sure to inspire and captivate leaders and managers who wish to transform not only their businesses but also their employees’ lives.”
-- Publishers Weekly
There are many things to like about Dennis Bakke’s latest book, The Decision Maker .It is insightful, it is well-written, it is a breeze of fresh air in the management literature. Bakke’s principles are simpleshare the power, and let people have fun making decisionsbut like it is often the case, these simple principles can have a groundbreaking impact. Read The Decision Maker and change your outdated conceptions of what management ought to be.”
-- Frédéric Godart, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, INSEAD
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, compensationsuch 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
I live in a community where the AES company built a power plant while Bakke was CEO. I had the opportunity to work with AES people and from the outset there was evident passion, commitment and engagement in how they interacted with one another and with those of us living and working in the community. As a small business owner, I became a student of the AES culture because beyond talk or writing on the wall, AES people were truly engaged and committed to their work and the mission of the company. Frankly, while I admired their culture, I was also envious of what they created because the results and energy were so evident. Any business owner would want the same commitment and passion from its workers as what was displayed from my experience with AES. The impact was noticed and felt.
I relay this experience, because some might discount the practicality or reality of the principles taught by Bakke as idealistic. I can attest that they can be achieved to make a positive difference, in companies and their people. Decision Maker does a good job of showing what the principles look like lived out and the impact they can have on a company. The principles behind the story are honoring of people and inspiring in building a team and community of people committed to a shared purpose.
BACKGROUND: When I completed my masters degree in Leadership a few years ago, we were required to read Patrick Lencioni's book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable. That was first time I had read a "fable" for businesspeople. I loved Patrick's book, and I heartily recommend it.
Dennis Bakke's book is another "fable", which means it reads like a story. It is a story (fictional). It uses the same way of conveying important points that, for me, work very well.
WHAT I LIKED:
- The story form made this book a breeze to read
- Dennis Bakke's credentials (former president and CEO of a Fortune 200 company he co-founded) are impeccable
- The story has a few unexpected twists to keep it interesting
- The essential point (business leaders choose others to make important decisions) is astounding (to me)
- He finishes the book with a few pages that neatly summarize everything he's trying to say
- The principles are useful even if you're not a CEO or business owner; if you at all lead others, this book is for you, too.
WHAT COULD BE BETTER:
- Dennis has crafted a "fable" but he's no master storyteller. Don't expect great literary prose. He's a business guy, not a novelist. Even still, the writing was, I thought, just a little too thin to make it a great story.
WHAT I DISLIKED:
- A few places in the margin I wrote, "Riiight", meaning that in the real world of business, what was being said or being done wouldn't likely be said or done. But, then, this is a fable...
- Bakke doesn't do an adequate job, I thought, of explaining how the organization would handle failure, or what happens when the higher-up manager flatly disagrees with the decision-maker underneath him. I wish his fable had created that scenario, to see how the protagonist in the story, Tom, would have handled it.
CONCLUSION: Read Patrick Lencioni's book firstly, then read this book if you like reading business fables. The two books are complimentary to one another, and would give any business leader a lot to think about. And even more to put into practice. Recommended!