Top-down decisions just won't go away

I feel like a broken record.

I keep repeating myself over-and-over again.

“We need to move away from top-down decision making.”

I have been repeating this for years and most everyone I say this to at all levels agrees with me.

Then, in practice, what happens? You guessed it, top-down decisions.

It seems near impossible to break that pattern and, in some cases, I have seen people on the frontlines come to expect and need it.

As such, I have decided to take a closer look at the reasons this might be.

To start, aside from the classical conditioning based on the military command-and-control model, top-down decisions might be simpler than any form of group or consensus model.

In larger organizations, this could avoid bureaucracy and bogging down the process.

Next, if the same people are making the decisions, there can be a form of consistency that comes from this based on their leadership style and approach.

That said, decisions could also become a factor of what the people at the top like or want regardless of what is objectively the best thing to do for all.

Also, if the focus is set from the top down, the staff might all be given the same direction to move towards.

And top-down decisions might be necessary and faster in emergency and vital situations.

Top-down decisions may also lend better towards quality-control and standardization and consistency of outputs and results.

Moreover, in theory, people who are hired at a high-level might have more expertise and acumen in essential areas like finance, accounting, marketing, social media, technology and more.

This expertise might be an essential component of the decision-making process.

Given all this, I can understand the pull towards top-down decisions and the continued use of this model.

It is very difficult to break decades long patterns of organizational behaviour.

All this said, I still strongly believe we need to move away from top-down decision making yet maybe we are just not there yet.

I might just have to recognize and live with the fact that top-down decisions just might not go away, and I need to continue to be a broken record.