Entrepreneurs are often very consumed with their product and the way their product is perceived in the market. They default to business metrics and market penetration as metrics for their business success; which is absolutely right. There is often one metric which is over looked; and that is “culture”.
We are taking an in-depth look at what makes culture so critical and how entrepreneurs can influence the culture and inculcate the correct culture within their organisations. We have already looked at organisational design as a factor of culture and now we turn our attention to transparency. What do we mean and how is this a factor of culture?
Transparency and ultimately accountability within an organisation are more than just about who is under performing and who is over performing. This is important; but in this instance we are talking more about ensuring that employees have the correct information available with which to make decisions. That they are empowered, and not disenfranchised. Ultimately this allows them to see how their decisions are impacting on the successes and failures of the business.
But how can we meet this level of transparency within the organisation?
There are two easy – but critical – things that entrepreneurs can do to make sure that they stay transparent and accountable to their employees:
- hold a regular town hall meeting
- empower employees to ask and suggest
Hold a regular ‘town hall’ meeting
By holding a regular meeting that is supremely centered on transparency, you are setting the tone for your company. You are broadcasting that there is nothing to hide and that there is a clear (no pun intended) mandate from the top down that nothing is too sensitive to talk about.
By sharing important information about the company’s performance in such a candid way, you promote people to actively do the same. In these sessions the message becomes very clear: If you have questions, ask them. If you are not clear about how your personal goals align to the company priorities, ask your manager. Are you contributing to the company metrics in a meaningful way or do you have other ideas? Speak up.
These don’t have to be full on financial deep dive sessions. They don’t have to be overly elaborate in their design and delivery. A quick business dashboard that supplies the mission critical information is all that it takes. This can be an expression that unpacks into each departments strategy and ultimately to each employees KPI metrics.
The operative word here though is “regular”. These meetings need to happen on time every time. Particularly in the bad times! Be transparent in the good times and be unwaveringly regular in the bad times. The bad times are when culture steps up and proves its worth!
Empower employees to ask and suggest
The trick here is not to just ask for feedback. Everyone asks for feedback; that doesn’t mean they have a transparent culture. You need to act on it! By utilizing feedback tools your company must discuss and address as many of the virtual suggestions and questions as possible.
This is where preaching about being transparent and actually being transparent meet! This doesn’t have to be a long laborious process. Make the platform that you choose freely available for all staff and it becomes a self-governing system. Engaged staff don’t have time to waste posting stupid content; and the crowd will mediate it so that only the real issues are left to be discussed. This is ultimately social business (a topic we have discussed a few times) at it’s best!
When these start coming together; your organisations culture will begin to automatically embrace those who behave in an open; transparent and accountable way. These are critical aspects of business success and making sure that the business is pulling together in one direction!