Transparency and Autonomy are Intertwined

We’re in the middle of some big changes in corporate culture and work environment. There is a movement at companies toward more internal transparency of information and autonomy of work. If you do it right, you can unlock some amazing performance from your team or company.

Transparency of information: When employees do not have lots of information, they cannot make good decisions. Your job as a leader is to enable everyone in your company to move quickly and make great decisions. Bad leaders hoard information to try to make themselves most powerful. And even if you are a team of one, you have an obligation to provide updates on what you are doing to the company as a whole. It helps everyone.

Autonomy of work: This does not mean everyone does what they want. What it does mean is employees have more control over how they accomplish the goals and tasks they are assigned. I won’t tell you to write 5 blog articles and give you the topics for each one. I will ask you to grow our blog readership by 20% and increase the number of leads coming from blog readers by 25%. Your job is to figure out the tasks that get us there. If you are earlier in your career I’ll give you the list of things I would do to get there. If you are more experienced I expect you to come up with your own list. If you are an expert I expect your list to be different (and better) than mine.

Important: More transparency of information and increased autonomy are intertwined. Neither works without the other. Autonomy only works if everyone has enough information to make good decisions and find other people working on similar things so they can collaborate. Transparency only works when you have a high level of trust among everyone in the company, which can’t happen if employees are treated like workers (assigned specific tasks) not teammates.

Next steps:

  • Check out Tettra to add much better wiki / docs to your company Slack
  • Check out TINYPulse to monitor the cultural health and morale of your team
  • Check out OpenCompany if you want to be part of the movement toward more company transparency
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