Building a Culture of Empowered Decision Making at Autodesk

Insights / management and leadership, decision making, client story, case study

Building a Culture of Empowered Decision Making at Autodesk

Building a Culture of Empowered Decision Making at Autodesk | August Public
Building a Culture of Empowered Decision Making at Autodesk | August Public

Decision making is a pain point for many organizations, often preventing teams from achieving the speed, innovation, and engagement they are aiming for.

Such was the case for Autodesk. This 11,000-person software company partnered with August to improve its decision making processes in 2020, a year in which organizations had to make some of the toughest decisions in recent memory. Autodesk rightly saw decision making as a key lever for improving employee engagement and boosting business performance.

Below are six video excerpts of our retrospective interview with Rita Giacalone, Senior Director, Global Head of Culture, Diversity and Belonging, and Jyoti Argade, Manager, Culture, Diversity and Belonging, who share their experiences working with August to achieve a faster, better, more inclusive way of making decisions at Autodesk.

The Challenge: Outdated Decision-Making Processes Hindering Momentum

Rita Giacalone: "Why did Autodesk want to improve decision making?"

At the start of our partnership, Autodesk was emerging from a five-year digital transformation that had profoundly changed how the company worked. In the wake of all this change, Autodesk knew that its decision-making methods had not kept pace, and were now holding the company back from reaching its newly expanded potential. 

The Strategy: A Practical Playbook Rooted in Company Values

Rita Giacalone: "How did Autodesk seek to improve decision making?"

August's approach at Autodesk was to focus on tangible practices that could be used in everyday decision-making moments. We worked with Autodesk to frame these practices within Autodesk’s existing company values like integrity and inclusion. This approach kept the transformation practical and relatable at every stage, and unleashed genuine employee excitement to learn how to make decisions in a more effective way. 

Jyoti Argade and Rita Giacalone: "What are you proud of with Autodesk's decision making work?"

August worked with Autodesk to create a custom decision-making playbook full of modular, user-friendly practices tailored to Autodesk’s company culture. We paired that with a virtual workshop that not only taught practical skills for effective decision making, but also created space for reflection and conversation around the collaborative values that Autodesk sought to cultivate.

Our methods were so effective that they organically led to the creation of a 700+ person Slack channel, where to this day employees are engaged in lively discussion and peer education on how to operationalize August’s decision-making framework in their day-to-day work.

The Impact: Organic Adoption Drives Speed, Inclusion, and Engagement

Jyoti Argade and Rita Giacalone: "How are Autodesk's teams responding to the decision making work?"

As Autodesk employees began seeing the real-time benefits of empowered decision making, their enthusiasm for August’s training began to grow. Employees at every level of the organization, from entry level to C-suite, viewed our modular decision-making playbook as a useful, practical and inclusive resource for real-time decision improvement.

Adoption spread like wildfire across 100+ global offices, with employees eagerly signing up for workshops and organically applying our modular lessons within their active decision-making processes, whether they were making small internal decisions, or decisions with a complex and worldwide impact.

Rita Giacalone: "How is Autodesk measuring the impact of your decision making work?"

Autodesk is measuring the impact of its decision-making transformation through field conversations with employees who’ve engaged with the playbook and training, and a longitudinal engagement survey asking employees to rate their satisfaction with decision making at Autodesk. Historically, decision making has been one of the lowest-scoring metrics on this survey. But since concluding our partnership, these metrics have substantially improved: 

“What we are seeing since we have focused on decision making (with August) is a statistically significant increase in (employee) satisfaction with decision making over time.”

- Rita Giacalone, Senior Director, Global Head of Culture, Diversity and Belonging

August and Autodesk: Building a Culture of Courageous Innovation

Jyoti Argade: "How does decision making support Autodesk's values and goals for inclusion?"
Not only has August's work with Autodesk helped them improve the speed and quality of their decision making, but it’s also helped them build a culture of trust and psychological safety. The decision making practices that August helped seed through the organization have blossomed into a culture of robust feedback, empowered decision ownership, and inclusive momentum.
We’re proud to have supported Autodesk in this cultural transformation!


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