Personal Story –
After leading a successful organization for 10 years we started to decline. At first it was hard to determine the cause. It wasn’t until leaving that organization
and looking back that I realized the source behind our decline. The main leadership had become distracted and were not intentional with keeping connected.
This lead to a disconnected culture that failed to practice the openness and transparency that had established its success. That is why I am so passionate
about today’s subject – Creating a Culture of Openness.
Let’s be leaders who learn from the mistakes of others and build sustainable success in our own organizations.
One of the best ways a great leader can encourage and unify his team after a crisis is to create a culture of openness and honesty. This is ground zero
for those of us who’ve experienced a major shift within an organization or in our lives. Good communication is a tool to help you and your team unlock
solutions to the problem, but you must first demonstrate how.
Say the hard things first.
It’s all about respect. Respecting other people’s time, and respecting their attention by giving them the bad news right alongside the positive updates
and progress. People are resilient, far more than you or I will give them credit for. They appreciate honesty, even if it feels a little forward or
blunt. What they will not appreciate is you sending them on a wild goose chase to understand your intentions. Be clear in your language, be honest
in your responses and forthcoming with your current state. Your thoughts and plans about where you are headed with the team are important. If you aren’t
sure yet, tell them that. By giving appropriate time and weight to the important issues, you are dispelling any fear and confusion surrounding past
events. This will help you win the respect of people on your team.
Ask for feedback regularly, and actually use it.
There’s a difference between a leader who asks for the opinions of others because they are curious, and those who do so out of courtesy or duty. Be the
curious leader. Your team is smart and will know the difference. At the heart of these conversations is emotional intelligenceand
understanding what people need to come together and build something great. It’s your job to learn how to help them, not to fix everything yourself.
It’s also safe to assume that people are scared to take a risk and stick their necks out with a suggestion. So prompt them to ask you questions by
scheduling a weekly Q&A session with you. Mark Zuckerberg does this with his Facebook employees and they love it! By opening up the floor, Mark
creates a culture where it’s safe to exchange ideas again.
Sacrifice ego: You don’t have to know everything.
Whatever you do, don’t pick up that Atlas Mentality again that we discussed earlier! It’s important to keep a right perspective on the problem. You cannot
fix everything and the scope of the problem will only widen if you attempt to go it alone. Lean into those people entrusted into your care. Build them
up. Glean their wisdom, seek out advisors and wise counsel before you move forward. Good news is on the horizon! Next week we will talk through how
our perspective shifts from the negatives to the positives. We will work from problem solving to solution seeking and taking the offensive in this
process of moving our organizations from crisis on to success!
To your excellence in creating a culture of openness,