by Neil Ducoff


Reality check: Your business doesn’t care what your decision-making style is—from scrutinizing every detail to relying only on a mix of intuition and a few facts. The truth is that the best decisions are made in the most timely and efficient manner possible. And therein lies the rub.

Too often, leaders’ tendency to monopolize decision-making authority undermines the productivity and efficiency of those they lead. Therefore, action that could or should have taken place is delayed or absent entirely as employees wait, because only their fearless leader is permitted to make decisions.

Even when leaders want employees to make decisions, there are still roadblocks that prevent shared and decentralized decision making from occurring. There are two very basic reasons for this:

• No formal system exists to train and coach employees on the process of making the best decisions.

• The company does not empower or trust employees to make the best decisions on behalf of the company.

These two factors create a business culture that is slow and cumbersome because those who do the work are prevented from deciding the best way to get that work done.

One of the tenets of open-book management is to create a culture where employees think, act and make decisions like an owner. To accomplish this, a company must give its employees the same knowledge, tools and data that owners use, including financial literacy and a stake in the outcome.

Ultimately, your personal leadership style will be the determining factor in creating a shared, decentralized decision-making culture. It’s never about you; it’s about achieving the results. Empower your employees, then let go.

Neil Ducoff is the founder and CEO of Strategies, a business training and coaching company specializing in the salon and spa industry. During his 38 years as a business trainer, coach, keynote speaker and author, Neil has gained respect as the guru of team-based compensation. Neil is the author of Fast Forward, the definitive business resource book for salons and spas. Neil’s new book, No-Compromise Leadership, will be published by DC Press and available at book stores this December. For more information, go to You can e-mail Neil at


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