Monday, March 7, 2011

Share Information

An easy way to massively increase ownership (a recent theme for me) is to share information - to communicate more and communicate better. Share information about the company, where it's headed, current and future challenges, customer prospects, product direction, and your thoughts about how employees' efforts fit in. insert link

When people feel part of the bigger picture, they feel more valuable. It creates meaning to see how their work contributes to a better result for customers or a better product. Seeing where they fit in something bigger drastically increases the effort and creativity of employees - they see what needs to be done and own a piece of the puzzle that is needed to get there.

On the flip side, a lack of information is the same as saying "There's no need for you to know this. Your work exists in isolation, and doesn't matter that much."

In a void of information employees speculate - they fill in the blanks. Chances are very good their imagination is worse (or better) than reality. In both case, they are not focused on your vision and are being set up for disappointment.

Enough of the gloom and doom. 'If I take more time to share information, what's in it for me?' you ask. In the process of sharing information, you get information back. Your team is the front line troops with a granular look at problems and solutions. You see the company as if you are looking at a city from an helicopter. Your employees are in the streets amongst the buildings. They are the ones with insight and awareness of the side streets and back alleys, the pros and cons of your vision and direction, and the ones who will be doing the hand-to-hand combat needed to get you to the next step. Sharing information from each of your viewpoints works in a complimentary fashion.

Take the time to share information. Do daily chats, maybe weekly group meetings, off-site strategy discussions, and have public customer/product whiteboards. Make it part of your everyday process. Make it a priority.

When has a concerted effort of sharing information paid off for you? When has it failed? What is the best way you've found to give and get company info?