When you’re a solopreneur, working on your own, you need to control every decision. It can be brutal, but necessary. As your company grows, though, getting out of making every decision is the best thing you can do. It can also be very tough, but also very necessary.
In his book “The Dichotomy of Leadership“, author Jocko Willink shares his “Four Laws of Combat”, with the fourth being “Decentralized Command”, explained by Willink here:
No one leader can manage it all or make every decision. Instead, leadership must be decentralized, with leaders at every level empowered to make decisions, right down to the frontline troopers in charge of no one but themselves and their small piece of the mission. With Decentralized Command, everyone leads. To empower everyone on the team to lead, team members must understand not just what to do but why they are doing it.
His situation is military-focused, but the application of that law reaches all of us. In any scenario, trust is the key; if you can’t trust others to make decisions on your behalf, then you can’t hope for any degree of decentralized command.
This also pulls in a good degree of Commander’s Intent (explained here), when Willink advises that “team members must understand not just what to do but why they are doing it“. If they understand the why behind the need, they can adjust to make the right choice.
If you have a team that understands the “why” and are people you can rely on, you’ve got something rare and amazing. If not, Willink’s book might be a great place to start to learn how to work toward that change.