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The Corporate Rebels Handbook Series: How We Make Decisions

Pim de Morree
Written by Pim de Morree April 01, 2023

This post is part of an ongoing series that gives you an insider’s look
at the Corporate Rebels company handbook. If you’re new to this series,
we suggest reading the quick intro post that explains why we’re doing this—and what to expect. In today’s post: how we make decisions.

Here’s an obvious statement: as with any business, decisions need to be made. Like, a lot of them. All the time.

How to distribute decision-making?

We're working as a self-managed company (read: no managers or bosses) and therefore it is vitally important to clarify how decisions are made.

So, we have a process in place to help guide decision-making in a way that makes sense and also rewards taking the initiative. Here’s how the system works:

Most normal-level decisions

These decisions include basic stuff like daily work, stuff that falls under what your role is (read more about roles and responsibilities in my earlier post in this series), new initiatives, etc. And guess what? You get to make them yourself. You don’t need permission. Use your creativity, experience, passion and skill to make your best possible decision.

You may need forgiveness every so often if you make the wrong decision. And that’s okay. We all make mistakes. It means you're learning.

"It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission."
Click to tweet

Big decisions

Any decisions that potentially have a moderate to major impact (hiring decisions, making significant changes to the website, enrolling in an extensive training program, transitioning to new software, etc.) require going through the Advice Process.

(Put a pin in this—we’ll go over it in more detail below).

Really, really big decisions

So, what about the most impactful decisions? Like moving offices, changing the salary-setting process, making huge investments, adding a new area of services, and so on? Easy. Also the Advice Process.

Identifying levels of decisions

Let’s be honest: There is no exact science to figure out whether a decision is big or small. In most cases, you simply have to use your own judgment. But don’t let it drag out too long or worry about involving everyone else unless absolutely necessary.

Caution is fine, but taking the initiative is often the better approach. Still, since we maintain a sense of radical candor here, asking honest opinions about something is always encouraged.

The Advice Process

As mentioned earlier, we are firm believers in the Advice Process. Because it works. For many pioneers, and for us too.

This is how it goes:

  1. Take initiative — If you notice an issue or opportunity, you have the responsibility to take the initiative. If you feel you are not in the best position to make the decision, then seek help from someone else in the organization.

  2. Gather input — Before proposing a decision, you may choose to seek input to gather perspectives from the team on the issue or opportunity.

  3. Seek advice — Propose a decision and seek advice on it from those with expertise on the subject matter and those who will be meaningfully affected by your decision. (If you are unsure who these people may be, ask your colleagues).

  4. Make a decision & tell people — Having taken all advice into account (you can choose to listen to it or ignore it, but you are obliged to at least reflect on it), you can now make your decision and inform those who have given you advice about it.

Initiative (and consequences)

Our system of decision-making sits firmly at the intersection of taking initiative and the consequences that come as a result. Of course, not all decisions can be made by one person—but there’s certainly more that one person can make than you may think.

At the end of the day, we value each other’s judgment. We trust each other. And we encourage each other to step up and make decisions on our own instead of waiting for someone else to do it for us.

And like we tend to say about many of these things, that’s the only way all of this can work.

If you want to read more about the Advice Process, check out this blog from Joost. We also have an entire course on decision-making at our Academy. Feel free to take a look!

For now, this is it! See you in the next post: Conflict Resolution.

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Written by Pim de Morree
Pim de Morree
As co-founder of Corporate Rebels I focus on: researching, writing, speaking, and building our company.
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