My posts this month are about transparency. I’ve been writing about transparency in organizations for a long time now, and it’s honestly not a very new idea in the business world. Whole Foods, for example, shares all of its salary and bonus data internally with everyone. Yes, everybody knows what everyone else makes. When I tell people this, they generally freak out, even though the news is probably more than 15 years old.

And don’t worry—you don’t have to share your salary if you don’t want to. That’s not the point. But we do need to get serious about transparency internally if we’re going to thrive as organizations for one very important reason:

Making things more visible increases the quality of decisions that get made throughout the organization.

This is huge. We need better decisions, every day, at every level. Traditional management says we achieve this by distributing information on a “need to know” basis, but in today’s complex, fast-paced world, the center of an organization can’t know who needs to know ahead of time. So if you make things visible to everyone, you enable that better decision making, because those people will end up having that critical piece of information, right at the time they needed it.

So tell your people things. I know that sounds like overly simplistic advice, but it’s a gem I got years ago from a senior manager in the Federal Government, of all places:

“Tell your people things. Because if you don’t tell them, they’ll make it up. And I guarantee that what they make up will be worse than the truth.”

Tell people what the senior team talks about in those meetings they have all the time. Tell people the nuances behind your strategic decisions. Heck, tell people when the answer is “I don’t know.” Remember that every time you decide to withhold information out of fear that releasing it might have bad consequences, you’re providing an opportunity for your people to MAKE UP SOMETHING even worse.

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Jamie is an author and culture consultant at Human Workplaces who uses culture analytics and customized consulting to drive growth, innovation, and engagement for organizations around the world. He brings 25 years of experience in conflict resolution, generational differences and culture change to his work with leaders leveraging the power of culture. The author of two books — "When Millennials Take Over" and "Humanize" — Jamie has a Master’s in conflict resolution from George Mason and a certificate in OD from Georgetown, where he serves as adjunct faculty.

Jamie is an author and culture consultant at Human Workplaces who uses culture analytics and customized consulting to drive growth, innovation, and engagement for organizations around the world. He brings 25 years of experience in conflict resolution, generational differences and culture change to his work with leaders leveraging the power of culture. The author of two books — "When Millennials Take Over" and "Humanize" — Jamie has a Master’s in conflict resolution from George Mason and a certificate in OD from Georgetown, where he serves as adjunct faculty.

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