A follow up to yesterdays post, Transparency- Mmm Mmm Good. For anyone interested in learning more about transparency, I’m currently reading “Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor” by Warren Beenis, Daniel Goleman, and James O’Toole. I’m in the early going, but it’s great read so far. Here’s a quote that I feel speaks to the employer/employee relationship as relates to transparency:
“No matter the official line, true transparency is rare. Many organizations pay lip service to values of openness and candor, even writing their commitment into mission statements. Too often these are hollow, if not Orwellian, documents that fail to describe the organization’s real mission and inspire frustration, even cynicism, in followers all too aware of a very different organizational reality.”
Assuming the Campbell’s add recalls true events (a stretch, I know), it’s my opinion that Campbell’s recognizes the valuable resource right under it’s nose. Employee feedback can be a great indicator of whether a company is living up to its core values. Campbell’s appears to have used employee opinion as a check and balance in this respect. This can lead to valuable feedback on issues ranging from the product the company is churning out to fulfilling its commitments to it’s community. However, in this scenario an employee is only as valuable as he or she is honest. In an environment where this honesty is encouraged, employees are any company’s most valuable asset.
Roughly 3 months ago, BuildDirect conducted a company wide poll asking for genuine, anonymous feedback from its employees. The question was essentially “How are we doing?” The feedback was encouraging, critical, and constructive- all at the same time. The leadership has since used this feedback to drive much needed improvements into the business strategy. This strategy was then made clear and available to every one in the organization- posted on a 5′ x 12′ white board for all to see. This is transparency put to use. Every employee could see that there honest imput was valued and resulted in a shared vision and goal. This initiative has had a positive impact on BuildDirect and, it could be argued, has highlighted the need for more of the same.
As the quote above suggests, transparency should be engaged in as a continuing process. BuildDirect, like a lot of companies, has a long way to go. That said, as an employee it’s nice to know we’re on the path. That’s the important part.