Playing and Working with an Open Hand

By | September 17, 2013 | 0 Comments

open handOpen Hands


Ten Ways to Improve Transparency

When I am learning a new card game, I like to play an “open hand” or two, meaning that I can see everyone’s cards and understand the game better.  Of course, this is not great for the competition, but it helps me understand the workings of the game, so I can play better.  I think the same principle should be applied to a work setting; everyone should play with an open hand to their co-workers.  After all, we are not competing with ourselves, so we might as well have all the advantages of transparency.  Below are ten ways to improve transparency . . .  a follow up to last week’s blog about WHY transparency is so important.  For links to articles and websites see The Give and Take.

10.   Understand communications methods:  Communicating the way that you are comfortable and skilled does not necessarily mean that you will be heard or understood.  It is vital to communicate in ways that others want to receive information.  This means trying a variety of approaches across media. If millennial prefer text messages, then set up group texts to communicate informal updates.

9.  Relate-ability // Know staff members personally:  Individuals will be more receptive and interested in hearing and interacting with you if they know you and know that you respect them.  Invest the time in getting to know staff members and building a rapport with them.  In general, we spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else, for that reason alone, I think it is important to know about staff and team members’ lives, families, skills and hobbies; these are what make us human.

8. Open door to committee or task forces:  Create a company-wide policy that any staff member can participate in any committee or task force (where liability issues are not involved).  This creates opportunities for staff members themselves to articulate their priorities and increases the perspectives included.

7.   Evaluate Communications and Transparency:  Figure out what outcomes you want from increased transparency (e.g. greater staff understanding of organizational goals, increase buy-in and loyalty, improved collaboration across departments, etc) and measure towards those outcomes.  When you identify a method or mode that is working well, identify the specifics of why it is working and seek to replicate.  If a method is not working, identify the reason why and tweak, or eliminate.  Part of the evaluation should be an accountability – is everyone using the systems and sharing information as agreed to? If not, individuals should be held accountable.

6.  Construct communications and transparency methods that are routine and predictable.  Create a system of how shared computer drives work, what types of information is communicated in what ways, etc.  Also, create a timeliness of transparency and communications.  Transparency and open communications should be a work habit followed by everyone, which can only happen with practice and repetition.

5.  Leverage Social Media:  There are some excellent social media platforms which are informal, simple to use and foster quick interactions.  Yammer is one that I am familiar with and it works well.  It is very similar to Facebook, but is private for your organization.  Also, create folders for communications and use convenient communication methods such as messaging through Twitter, text messages and others.  Imagine the credibility that you gain by sending a friendly text message reminder of the all staff meeting, or sending a link to an article for all staff.

4.  Make Information actionable:  If you give me information and tell me why it matters and what you expect me to do with it, you have me hooked.  When sharing information, explain (briefly) what you are sharing, why it matters, and what the reader can do with it. (e.g. integrate into your work plans, share with staff, seek volunteers to participate).  Also, as appropriate, establish a deadline for response so that staff members can know how to incorporate the information into their own priorities.  A let me know what you think is different than, please provide feedback by Friday noon.

 3.  Seek collaboration and buy in:  Ask for participation and feedback that draws on the expertise of particular departments and staff members.  Given your background in training, can you please provide some ideas for how we could design a training that . . .?  Likewise, seek input from specific sectors of staff whose perspective may be different from your own (e.g. those who work off site, those who are a different generation, etc).

2.  Discuss mistakes:  The best way to build loyalty and buy-in is to discuss your mistakes and your organization’s mistakes.  Discuss mistakes in terms of what went wrong, why and what the organization has learned from it.  As a part of this, be sure to demonstrate your accountability for the mistake. Likewise, seek feedback about mistakes or ways to improve.

1.     Share information openly:  Create and use systems–physical, virtual and human–that are organized, logical and accessible.  Instruct team members about how to use the systems and then use the systems as they are designed.  System workarounds are contrary to transparency and openness.  If a system needs to be re-designed, then re-design it (see #7 above), but in light of that, a key to transparency is working with the system to communication and share ideas.

Feedback  Yes, Please — below?

Read more in The Give and Take.


Categories: Communications, Management

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