A few days ago I wrote about some of the conversations we were having in Illinois at the very excellent annual State SHRM conference about connections and creativity. As promised, here’s a little more on that subject, and there’s more to come next week after the August Bank Holiday.
We all want to be kept informed right? Wrong. We all need to be kept informed. Nobody works well in isolation, and the timely flow of information is vital for doing good work, yet it’s hard finding a company that doesn’t wilfully keep secrets from itself. Strictly Confidential, silos, and locked doors all serve to stifle the oxygenating effects created by a free flow of information. I’m not really interested in ‘Thinking Outside the Box’ on this one, I think we need to be more radical. Just open the box, unpack it, and throw the box away. Rather than coming at this challenge from where we are now, with most things hidden from most people, what if we were to start with complete openness and work back from there? Scary? Yep. Exciting? Definitely!
Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant write compellingly about this approach in Humanize, which I shamelessly referenced again for my Illinois SHRM talk, and in it they suggest a number of key things about transparency, two of which I want to highlight here. First, it’s vital that you can be really clear why transparency is important to you. Second, when you are figuring out what to share, and someone blocks with the challenge ‘we’ve always done it that way’, that is no longer good enough.
Small Picture, Big Picture
I firmly believe that a part of what delivers world beating performance, is when everyone can clearly see the goal and can clearly see all the information they need to be able to contribute to that goal. So the woman who makes the screw which fits the seatpost to the saddle, onto which Bradley Wiggins places his skinny butt so he can PLF (Pedal Like F*ck) and together with Mark Cavendish win the Madison final at the World Championships at 2008. She knows precisely how to make that tiny piece of kit and someone else knows just how tightly to do it up, and so on, and so on. Transparency – it matters.
Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wiggins_Cavendish_2008.jpg