Closed door sessions. High-level discussions. Closing the books. Meeting behind closed doors. After hours sessions.
There is much that goes on in the business world that is not privy to the organization at large. While understood, this line of thinking has become a defense mechanism, a veil in which to restrict the flow of information that empowers staff and opens up the organization.
While there is a trend in more open office environments (i.e., no offices except glass window conference rooms, wide open work areas that foster collaborative communication), there is still opportunity for openness within the intangible yet real culture of the workplace. Here are some ideas:
Open Door. A true “open door policy” is one that allows every team member to have access to leadership. While truly keeping a physical door open is a symbolic gesture, it’s also the attitude presented when a person comes in. Give undivided attention and ample time. Be truly excited for their input and concerns. Have them leave feeling validated. This creates more comfort in others approaching you continually.
Open Communication. More than the open door, a great organization provides more than enough communication to their people. When talking points and free discussions are flowing, and information is readily accessible, problems are creatively solved, new ideas are born, and collaboration blossoms. When everyone feels they can talk to everyone – staff to senior leadership, CEO to new hires, everyone to every customer or business partner – trust skyrockets and momentum shifts forward.
Open Book. This is almost always a struggle for many companies, and many leaders. What it boils down to is control, plain and simple. Teams that know where the company is financially have such an advantage in seeing the big picture, which leads to buy-in and full engagement. When people know where the company stands in it’s financial health, they will naturally help make those efforts and decisions to monitor expenses and/or generate ideas for increased revenue.
Open Agenda. Hidden agendas by anyone in leadership always lead to disengaged employees. In today’s connected world, almost nothing is hidden for very long. Hiding one’s true direction or mindset, when it’s found out, kills credibility in the individual but also damages trust throughout much of the organization. By following the first three practices above, it becomes very difficult to have any hidden agendas kicking around.
Open UP – yourself, your organization, your culture, your possibilities. You, and everyone around you, will benefit more when you do.
(image courtesy theberkshires24-7.com)