I’ve started, run, and sold a few successful companies. Each one was different from the last one because I was constantly learning. But early on, I took on a management method that I used throughout my career – I ran each as a Benevolent Dictatorship. Now before you go looking it up on Wikipedia, it’s a term I used with my own definition.
A Benevolent Dictatorship, in my terms, means I was very interested in other opinions on problems as they often brought me to see new ideas. Opinions of others added a perspective that fleshed out details I didn’t previously see., and with rare exceptions, I relished each one. But regardless of how many I listened to, the proverbial buck stopped with me. I made the final decisions and was responsible for their outcome – good or, sometimes, unfortunately, bad.
If you’re going to run any organization, there’s a temptation to run it “By Committee”, pushing away decisions, so it makes it easier to wag a finger when they don’t produce great results. But it’s harder to take responsibility. It’s harder to run a Benevolent Dictatorship. It’s harder to shoulder the responsibility and be ready to take on the consequences. But if you don’t, who will?