I'm sure we've all worked at or know organizations where transparency around operations, decisions and information is an exception -- not a built-in expectation.
To thrive in this rapidly growing, competitive and connected business landscape, individuals at an enterprise need to be able to quickly access information. And it starts with building a culture of openness and transparency.
While some enterprise information is highly sensitive and needs to be held back for security reasons, most day-to-day information and decision making processes should be made easily accessible. When this isn't the case, a team can end up with duplicate work and bad decision-making that stifles innovation and negatively impact an organization's competitive edge, and inevitably bottom line.
Quint Studer, author of the book Straight A Leadership: Alignment, Action, Accountability, argues that companies with cultures of openness and free-flowing information are better equipped to ride out difficult economies. Here are some other benefits that come with creating transparent enterprises:
Organizational Stability and Solid Teamwork
People and information are an enterprise's greatest assets. Transparency helps to build interpersonal trust between employees, regardless of position, especially when there are clear systems in place to communicate. When people are enabled to ask questions in open and honest ways, it nurtures a mutual understanding and encourages more people to share and collaborate with each other. Building a camaraderie and feeling of "we're all in this together" is especially important when an organization is going through a large change. When all employees share the same reality via transparent communication, a change initiative is much more likely to be successful.
Increased Productivity and Supported Innovation
When information and expertise is accessible, employees can take initiative to solve their own problems rather than spending time to figure out who has the information they need to do their job. It also supports people coming up with creative solutions. Organizational silos that are transparent exposes people who once had their blinders on to a new set of challenges and ways of thinking across departments. Tapping into the river of knowledge and resources across an organization creates an endless surge of ideas for new strategies, markets, services and products.
At Kintone and our parent company Cybozu in Japan, we recently completed a review of all our managers and people in leadership roles. After employees submitted their anonymous feedback, the conversation continued with managers openly posting their response about areas they'd like to improve in along with actionable steps. Putting the facts and feedback on the table, even when it's uncomfortable, closes the perception gap between leadership and employees and makes our companies a better, more enjoyable place to work at.
How to Build a Culture of Transparency
Information technology, particularly cloud-computing platforms, make it easier than ever before to build a culture of transparency across an organization. While there're lot of choices out there, Kintone is built for enterprise teams needing powerful, custom-built solutions. Business users, regardless of coding skills, can transform spreadsheets and documents into live powerful business applications. Invite your team, clients department or entire organization to collaborate on projects. Then from desktop to mobile device, view dynamic, real-time reports and analytics, assign colleagues a new task or create an app with all of a projects' documents in one accessible location. These are among the thousands of ways over 6,000 customers use Kintone every day to build a culture of transparency, like American Electric's Director of Engineering Rehan Siddiqui.
"Our team is more transparent, more accountable and more empowered thanks to Kintone," he said.
About the Author
Nicole is Director of Marketing at Kintone, with 10+ years experience in content strategy, campaign management, lead acquisition and building positive work cultures of empowered, purpose-driven team members. She spent seven years as a journalist, previously serving as a CBS San Francisco digital producer, NPR contributor, Patagon Journal deputy editor and reporter for several publications, including the Chicago Tribune. She's passionate about the tech for good space, social entrepreneurship and women leadership. On the weekends, you’ll likely find her putting her Master Gardener skills to use in at community gardens in Oakland.