We’ve all heard the phrase, “Information is power.” There is a lot of truth to that statement when it comes to creating a high-performance culture.
The problem is transparency of information takes trust. We often fear the ramifications of openness: Will someone share it inappropriately with others? Will they use the information for their own selfish gain? Will I somehow be hurt if I give up this information?
While sharing information can be risky business, a culture without transparency makes it difficult for employees, and management, to make effective decisions. When employees feel empowered to make effective decisions in the moment of choice, you get a high-performing culture. This is in contrast to a culture in which employees put the monkey on their boss’ back because they fear making the wrong decision.
There are some best practices to be considered when sharing information in a company. First, begin with a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis can be done online to engage employees and their input in what they believe are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the business. It is advised to use an outside resource, such as BIZremedies.com, to conduct the SWOT analysis so employees can remain anonymous and therefore, give honest feedback.
Collecting this information from employees will create a high-performing culture because employees will feel engaged in the business. Nothing makes an employee feel more motivated than asking his opinion or allowing her to be CEO for a day – telling someone all the changes they would make to improve the company. Often, leaders think the employees don’t know the business well enough to give educated feedback, but you would be surprised how they have secretly had a plan of action in their minds. A SWOT analysis gives the management team the information they need to succeed, as it can be filtered to specific departments and leaders, giving each area of the business suggestions for improving the upcoming year.
Secondly, this information can be used to set goals, create initiatives and engage employees in action plans to overcome the weaknesses and threats management agrees must be addressed. This level of engagement creates a high-performing culture because action is translated to not only each department, but to each person’s job. This is done through a clearly defined action plan that addresses the area of the business each employee can improve to create a greater return on investment in the company goals.
Third, it is important to measure progress on a regular basis. Feedback is a form of information and increases performance. Quarterly scorecards that give feedback to employees on their contribution to their job, as a team player and to the goals, help employees know how to get the ball in the net. Where employees are not performing, leaders can coach them by giving them more clear direction.
Finally, in order to create a high-performing culture, a company must be willing to share more financial information so employees know how to make effective decisions that yield greater revenue and profit margins. To engage and educate employees in financial matters, leaders can ask their employees at each department level: “How might we contribute to the company’s growth and profit?” As financial information and ideas are shared at each department level, managers and their employees will discover best practices that create an even greater positive financial impact. Creating a reward system that correlates financial success to specific best practices will create a culture of accountability and motivation that leads to high performance.
Want a high-performing culture? In order to have a high-performing culture, we need to share the information needed to succeed. This begins with engaging employees in a SWOT analysis and gathering information on how they see the business from their vantage point. Then, taking this information and translating it to an action plan that is assigned to each department and individual so they know how to contribute to the goals. When we give regular feedback and measure progress, we can make the course corrections where needed, as well as recognize progress achieved. Sharing the financial scoreboard can help employees make decisions that create ROI and a high-performing culture.
Challenge: Have you shared the information needed to create a high-performing culture?
Susan Wehrley is the owner of BIZremedies.com, a consulting and coaching business that helps leaders improve their company culture. Learn more at www.BIZremedies.com or contact her at susan@BIZremedies.com or (262) 696-6856.