What went right on that last project? What went wrong? Did we live up to our Vision and Values? Given that we were successful, what can we do to improve? Given that we missed the mark, what can we do not to miss the goal next time?
And what about our “everyday” business processes? Where can we improve there? What’s going well? What could we make more effective if we were to focus on it?
“Transparency: Clear, frank conversations about successes and failures.”
It’s hard to discuss lessons learned from failure. It’s harder still to discuss lessons learned from our successes. It’s straightforward to be grateful for success, celebrate it, and move on rather than discuss what we can learn from that success. Frank conversations happen when there is a safe environment — where we can openly discuss mistakes, successes, different views, and changing requirements without fear of retribution.
Clear Line of Sight
The photo accompanying this post is of the local mountains taken from a vantage point close to my home. If you look carefully, you will notice a host of antennae on the right-hand peak (click on the image to enlarge it). The communication engineers know the value of having an antenna located such that there is an unobstructed view to other receivers and transmitters (clear line-of-sight). The same is true in our organization. Those higher up in the project management team, with a broad view of the organization, can best lead the discussion about what we learned from the details of project execution. Of course, the farther away a leader/manager is from the detailed work, the more critical it is to listen to those in command of the details. The same frank conversation is appropriate for any of our business processes, and we should be initiating them frequently. That’s all part of this buzzword “Transparency” in the leadership industry.
New Generation of Leaders
Transparency is essential, has always been so, and the fact that it is now in vogue to talk about it doesn’t make it less critical. It’s part of what the new generation of leaders and employees are demanding. And as pointed out elsewhere on this blog, that generation isn’t asking for anything unusual. They want the same healthy workplace we all want. It’s just that they are willing to demand it, and if not receiving it, they are quite ready to go elsewhere.
Transparency. Frank conversations. Safe work environment. Continuous improvement. Employee engagement. That sounds like a place any of us would want to work!
[Lightly edited in 9/2020 for our new website.]