As spring signals its arrival with shades of green and blooming flowers, how can we transform ourselves and the organizations we lead? Lighthouse CEO Jeff Van Fleet shares his thoughts on implementing a culture of openness and transparency.
I advocate for a culture of openness. Not only is it more empowering and fun, but it actually operates much more efficiently.
I hope you are enjoying the springtime as much as I am. I love the feel of the warm sun and seeing the many different colors of the season. I am always amazed at the different shades of green—they are all so beautiful and incredible! This is a time of transformation as we move from the cold and dark days of winter to the colorful days of spring!
As I think about this transformation, I wanted to take a few minutes to share some thoughts. As leaders, we have the opportunity—and responsibility—to set the culture in our organizations. We get to decide if we want to hear the opinions of others or whether we simply want to dictate our decisions. We can create a culture of openness and transparency or we can hide behind subterfuge and politics.
Those of you that know me know that I advocate for a culture of openness. Not only is it more empowering and fun, but it actually operates much more efficiently. But, to establish this kind of culture, you must be open to knowing the truth about your organizational challenges. Your team needs to trust you so they are comfortable disclosing these problems, and are willing to be vulnerable enough to tell you when they screw up. My contention is that if you don’t want that kind of transparency, your organization will stagnate and suffer.
We’re a Software Quality Assurance and Testing company. We help software organizations see what’s possible and help them transform so they can achieve better results—faster time to market, lower cost, and higher quality. This transformation is not possible without openness and trust.
Ask yourself: if you are a Development Manager or CIO, do you know how much software your organization delivers each year, how much it costs to deliver it, and how many production issues you expect when you release? Wouldn’t it be beneficial to know that your organization is spending 50% more to produce software than your competitors? If you know where you are today, you can build a plan to improvement. Wouldn’t it be useful to be able to communicate all of that to your C-Suite—and that you have a plan to improve so you can kick your competition’s butt?
To do this, you have to be open to change. Which means that your staff needs to feel safe to tell you when things are not going great—and that you’re going to use that information for good and not evil (i.e., if they tell you something, you’re not going to fire them). This approach also gives you objective data that you can use to celebrate your team’s success, because you’ll know you released faster than last time, with less budget, and with minimal production defects.
Whether you run a software team, an accounting practice, a manufacturing facility, or something else entirely, trust and openness are the pillars to improvement. I know it can be hard, but it’s not impossible and more than worth the effort.
So, are you willing to change so you can improve? Are you willing to help your team trust you? I’m sure you all have some great insights and experiences that can help all of us embrace change, increase trust, and improve our performance. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Have a fantastic Spring,
Jeff Van Fleet