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Stumped? Consult ‘the crowd’

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Profiles in Leadership

Do you rely on your “golden gut” when making decisions? Or do you believe that other people in your organization have expertise or opinions that can help make your decisions better?

Greg Burrill, owner and founder of home-builders WGB Homes, is in the second camp.

When a house doesn’t sell, he calls on the wisdom of the crowd. The “crowd” includes family members who work for the company, employees, subcontractors and customers who’ve bought homes in the same neighborhood.

In one case, a $550,000 spec home sat unsold for six months, despite plenty of traffic through it. Was it the lot size, the price or something about the design?

He went to the “crowd” and asked for opinions and ideas, then called a meeting of his inner circle. Everything he heard was put on the table.

This particular home reflected a new design by WGB, featuring a first-floor master suite. In reviewing feedback from the crowd, Burrill’s team realized that, even though target buyers had claimed to want a first-floor master bed­­room, those targets inevitably decided to buy homes with second-floor masters.

After the group consultation, Burrill knew what to do: reconfigure the design. It worked. A couple bought the house after the redesign—even in a difficult housing market.

Lesson: Have confidence in your own judgment, but also know that better decision-making comes from gathering insight and expertise wherever you can.

— Adapted from Judgment Calls: 12 Stories of Big Decisions and the Teams that Got Them Right, Thomas H. Davenport and Brook Manville.

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