Building a culture of transparency and trust has long been the goal of many teams, but it takes a lot more effort and focus than just saying it. For teams that can create authentic transparency, few things can be genuinely transformational.
To achieve genuine transparency, you can't have knowledge locked away in the brains of a select few. You have to work to wring out all that valuable knowledge, capture it, and share it for others on your team to benefit from. By putting that pen to paper (or recording that video), you're helping to capture that knowledge and get it into a format others can consume. Then, you have to do that repeatedly to build a network of knowledge and context that anyone on your team can benefit from.
For teams that truly embrace this mindset and approach, there is a lot of great benefits:
- 💪 Empowers Alignment and Autonomy: By ensuring they have access to the same information as anyone else in the company, you're helping to directly inform the decision-making and critical thinking of the team that is helping you achieve your goals.
- 🏳️🌈 Fast Tracks Equity: No matter how good the DEIB program is that you just launched, we promise the results will pale in comparison to what you can achieve by implementing a truly transparent approach to knowledge sharing and information. No one role, including leaders, should have access to all the information; every role should have access to all the information.
- 🤝 Builds Trust: Having information widely and easily accessible is one of the fastest ways to build and sustain trust with your team members.
- 🗣️ Capture & Connect Oral Tradition: When your team is in one place, you can usually get away with oral tradition as a way to share information, but as distributed teams have grown, that oral tradition becomes more of a risk than a benefit. New team members should have to connect with John in Finance to understand how something works; they should be able to access that information and reference the knowledge whenever they need it.
- 🧠 Build Organizational Knowledge: "We can't lose Francine, no one else knows all the things that she knows!" We hear it all the time, but it doesn't have to be that way. Documenting that critical knowledge or process not only helps reduce risk if essential employees leave, but it also helps strengthen the team's overall knowledge by sharing the learnings.
Simply saying you're a transparent team or organization is undoubtedly a start, but it can't end there. For teams to actually create a level of transparency that not only builds trust but also empowers people to operate autonomously, it takes an immense amount of work, documentation, and mindset shifts, in addition to having the spirit of transparency.
If you're ready to start the shift towards true transparency, keep these tips in mind:
- 📝 Write It Down: It all starts with writing things down. Basically, write everything down. Even if it is a few sentences to capture what was discussed in a meeting or a call, jot it down for your benefit and for the benefit of those that we're able to attend.
- 📤 Share it Broadly: This doesn't mean you should ping everyone in the Slack channel every time you post a note. You should, however, store everything, from meeting notes to critical policies, in a central location that everyone on your team can access. Teach your teams how to access the information when they need it.
- 🕵️ Critically Review Confidentiality: A lot of teams (and leaders in particular) default to keeping things confidential. Sometimes its for business reasons and sometimes because of a lack of trust. Challenge yourself and your team to really consider what, if any, information should be considered confidential and then share as much as you can.
- 🔗 Cross-Link Everything: As you start to build, make sure that you're taking the time to link and connect ideas to keep content and context connected. If you find yourself referencing details in another document, take the time to add a link. Over time, you'll start to build an incredible web of connected resources that actually make sense.
We've helped dozens of teams go from a blank page to fully documented and transparent processes, policies, and practices.
We can help you transform oral traditions and fractured resources into a single, elegant, interconnected hub for your collective team's knowledge.
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