Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Open Book Management

In 1992, when The Great Game of Business was originally published, only a few hundred companies practiced open-book management (OBM). Today thousands do. The word has spread. CEOs have seen the payoffs. OBM is now considered an essential alternative to the conventional, top-down way of running a company.

Advice: Just plunge in, ignore the tired management myths and discover the truth for yourself.

Myth: Don’t tell people the truth about the financials.

Truth: If you open the books, your leadership team has to establish credibility. You do that by telling the truth. You just can’t operate well unless people believe their managers and peers. And what’s the downside if your numbers land in the wrong hands? Competitors could never replicate your best practices, corporate spirit or the collective know-how of your employees.

Myth: Managers are paid to figure out all the answers.

Truth: First, no one has all the answers. Second, we need new job descriptions for managers in open-book workplaces. Managers teach, coach and give pep talks. When they ask team members for solutions they create a shared learning experience. That way everyone learns faster. Managers also have to learn to cope with failure. That’s where contingency planning comes in.

Myth: It’s a bad idea to promote people too quickly.

Truth: Employees should prove themselves, sure. But it’s smart to get your best people moving around so they don’t get stale or develop tunnel vision. New, exciting challenges and some cross-training expands their horizons. Suddenly, they appreciate the needs and goals of a larger chunk of the organization. And what happens next? Walls come down, communication improves, things start happening.

Myth: Never mind the big picture, just do your job.

: The big picture is all about motivation, giving employees a common purpose. The broader the picture you paint, the fewer obstacles they see. If people have big goals, they blow right by the little obstacles. But those obstacles can seem huge if you don’t move people beyond the daily grind or appeal to something they really want to do. Show them the fact and figures. Explain the challenges and opportunities. When you share the big picture, you define winning. greatgame.com
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