Employees at any level have always struggled with the desire to be their own boss in some capacity. The dream (for some) is to be able to have a large degree of autonomy from the “boss”, and to work in small teams that are personable, collegial and non-hierarchical. This setup is required in situations when things move fast and coordination is difficult or impossible.
A typical example of this structure in action is a business development team that has been assigned to create a new business entity in an overseas market. The team is entrusted to be entrepreneurial, do the right thing, and adapt to local circumstances. How do you ensure this decentralized team does not reinvent the wheel, make choices that are inconsistent with the company brand, or miss out on opportunities to capture scale economies?
Effective decentralization is thus found in cohesive decentralization. First of all, amount organizational expectations. When a team is given decisional power, upper management should expect that they thoroughly inform themselves on and follow into the “grand scheme”. The team would immediately inform management about any issues that arise, come to them for advice, and take responsibility for corrective action and final results. Effective upward management means involving seniors for maximum effect, rather than keeping them at bay.
Cohesive decentralization is also about strengthening the fabric that keeps everything together, so that the whole organization can fly formation instead of all over the map. We’ve identified the seven key factors that bind teams for success, ensuring each team can thrive and survive within a larger team.