Rockefeller Habits # 10
Habit 10 often tests some beliefs and prejudices because it is quite clear in its demands. Everyone in the business, yes, everyone from the cleaner to the directors should be able to see, all the time, not only where we are going but how well we are performing in our quest. That means sharing the numbers and the performance figures with everyone, all of the time.
Open Book Leadership
For some this may sound like a bridge too far. They may have that old fashioned view that team members don’t need to know the numbers; that if we were to share the numbers everyone would either want a wage rise, or they would leave, worried about the sustainability of the company. I understand both of these viewpoints. I have held them myself, at times. Although I have always believed in ‘open book’ leadership there have been times when it felt just too close to home, too personal maybe even too embarrassing to share the numbers. But such internal, personal propaganda isn’t helpful. Business is a team game and if we don’t tell people where we are going, how do we expect them to help us get there. If we aren’t telling them the score, how do we expect them to care about it, or improve it?
We often bemoan the lack of engagement of our people and our teams but all too often the reasons for their disengagement are obvious. We are asking them to play a complex game and we aren’t telling them whether we are winning or whether we are losing. If they don’t know, it’s difficult for them to care.
One of the greatest forces in any business is alignment. Alignment can be defined as getting to the point where everyone in the group understands and is committed to the direction. Unless the company’s plans and performance are visible to everyone we can never ever achieve alignment.
A Stake in the Outcome
Line of sight is a consequence of alignment and is in itself a powerful concept. Line of sight refers to the ability of any member of the team to be able to clearly see how her actions and efforts impact the business, its goals and its performance. It gives a ‘stake in the outcome’ and is a clear motivating factor. Absence of line of sight causes people to feel that they are just there to make up the numbers, that their work has no import and no purpose. What an uninspiring place to be!
So you are more than welcome to not share the plans and performance with your entire team but don’t be surprised if the consequence is that they just don’t care. If we haven’t enrolled the team into our vision, why would we expect them to want to help us get there.