02 Jul The Organizational Grand Slam: Transparency (Part 2 of 3)
Blackjack is popular for a reason: it’s simple.
Last week, we explored what happens in the mind when a lack of transparency is present. Employees with a low understanding of how decisions are made at work have very little choice but to resist taking ownership or initiative at work. I’m reminded of the first time I encountered a craps table in Las Vegas. It was a seething frenzy of cheering, sparkly colors, and excited people. It looked like a total blast! Unfortunately, it was also entirely inaccessible to me at that moment, as I had no inkling of the rules. The participants were simply too engrossed in their roaring good time to stop and explain what was happening. It was fun to watch, briefly… but how much money would I have bet on craps, at that moment of low understanding? Not even one dollar. (Why is blackjack is the most popular card game? Because the rules are simple!)
If you’re witnessing low engagement – and even resistance – within your managed workforce, you may be looking at the symptoms of low transparency. Let’s take a look at some ideas on how to empower your team to become high rollers and win big by increasing transparency at work.
Let’s first take a look at mentoring. Implementing a mentoring program creates an official instrument that transmits critical organizational information from senior staffers to newer hires. Without it, your new talent is simply watching the craps table from afar, just like I was. A well-crafted, automated mentoring program not only instructs your workforce on how to play the game. It also improves their odds of winning, as your program lead can establish mentorship pairings based on personality types, skill sets, and/or leadership potential. Learn more about what a custom mentoring program looks like here.
Transparency can be increased at the team level by implementing a project tracking tool that is accessible by the entire team. Editing rights may be restricted to the team leader(s) but at least those on the team can observe operations as they happen, and begin to develop a greater understanding for how things get done under this particular roof. PCMag has posted their ranking of the top ten project management tools here.
Next, consider the roles of your team members. When roles aren’t clear, no one knows who is responsible for tasks. When responsibility isn’t clear, no one is given authority to take ownership. This is a textbook example of low transparency, because the senior team members will comfortably default to the role they played in previous projects – a context which newer teammates have no knowledge. In laying out the roles of your team, distinguish clearly between team leadership and subject matter experts. Here’s another great blog about what your team needs to know before the project gets underway
It’s possible that your company isn’t the kind of employer that would put transparency at the top of its list of values – but that doesn’t mean that you have to embrace the same attitude. There are plenty of opportunities for you to increase the transparency for those you manage, and even to shed some light by ‘leading up’ as a team member. We’ll take a close look at these strategies next week.