Executives can talk on and on about how trust and transparency are a part of the company culture, but I have to see it in action before I believe it. Once in a while, I’m privy to those moments when great things happen in organizations, when values are lived and not just “banner-ized.”
Recently I overheard a conversation while signing books at a strategy consulting firm with offices in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. Three people I couldn’t see were discussing how to help a customer with a certain problem. One of these people seemed like the boss, because he did a little more of the talking. But he didn’t sound like the boss. There was no “I speak then you speak” tone or inferences. Instead, the conversation sounded like an unstructured idea feast with three smart people shouting out solutions and showing the utmost respect for each other. Ideas were tossed and sometimes flipped by another person in mid-air like pancakes.
After fifteen minutes, the one I took for the boss said jubilantly, “How about if we do this?!” He went on to describe an idea that was instantly supported and praised by the other two.
But it was his last comment that made me smile. “Geez, I just thought of that now. Isn’t that cool?”
It certainly is cool. Where honest and open cultures exist, unstructured collaboration thrives, and you get all the good stuff like innovation, productivity, and the best ideas to serve your clients.
What level of transparency exists where you work? Are you encouraging transparency by modeling it?