Countless decisions are made at our sign company every day. It’s a fact of life around here. And it plays a critical role in our company culture.

Simply put, if you want the best from your employees, give them opportunities to excel at decision-making.

PERSONAL GROWTH

It’s a matter of personal growth. I ask my employees “where do you want to be in five years?” The majority of them say they want to grow in their career. They want to get better at what they do and take on additional skills and challenges.

A lot of employees are reluctant to admit it, but they also want responsibility. If you don’t give it to them, they don’t grow and they’re likely to leave.

We foster a “moving up in the world” culture in our shop and our office. If you give employees opportunities to make decisions, they’re more likely to own and run with them.

It’s for their benefit because it improves self-esteem and gives them the rush that comes with accomplishment. And it’s good for the company because we operate more efficiently. It takes the monkey off the back of our leadership team members, freeing them up to take on bigger responsibilities. At the end of the day, the employee/employer relationship runs deeper.

HOW WE DO IT AT SIGN EFFECTZ

I use decision-making to help evaluate just about every employee because this skill set is so closely tied to our culture. Their contributions can be summed up with three simple questions:

  1. How many decisions do you make?
  2. How important are those decisions?
  3. How accurate are they?

You can’t get to the last question without considering the first two.

Because it’s healthy for employees to exercise decision-making, I prefer to get them involved in it early. We start with basic decisions and gradually move them up through increasingly more significant decisions as they master the skill. We coach them along the way.

That’s the great thing about this. Sound decision-making can be taught. Let’s face it, not everybody is born with it. Although coaching employees on this takes time and patience, it pays off in the long run with better employee work satisfaction and improved employee retention.

You can’t just ask them to make decisions. But if you help them understand the process and practice good decision-making, the success rate goes way up. Let them set up their workspace. Ask them for their opinion. Give praise for making good decisions.

Failures are stepping stones to success. Figure out what went wrong to avoid it in the future, but focus on the improvement. They just need a small affirmation that they did it right. It helps them focus on the successful steps and increases the odds it gets repeated.

HOW YOU KNOW WHEN IT’S NOT WORKING

Some employees aren’t willing to accept decision-making responsibility. The signals aren’t hard to spot. They typically ask for supervisor approval frequently, even on the little stuff. They tend to point blame on others and seldom take ownership of their work. In some cases, this behavior can be coached out of the employee. But in the end, some folks may not be a good fit for us.

IT’S ABOUT CULTURAL IMPROVEMENT

Why do we get up in the morning and go to work?

Of course, there’s a paycheck involved if you want a 100% truthful answer. But if employees have a purpose (to improve our customer’s satisfaction, building something with their hands, etc) and are given the space to make decisions, the result is a great culture.

  • Adam Brown

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