A while ago, we made the painful decision to be transparent, to not hide anything and completely open our books for the entire company to see.
I’d known other folks who attempted this marginally– trying to be in vogue and appear “open” but they’d not really gone all the way– they had line items and areas that they justified not disclosing due to sensitivities like people’s salaries, etc.
Not us. We’re more of a hell-bent, do it or don’t, halfway is no way, let’s go all the way kinda people.
Every penny coming in and going out is visible. Even the payroll lines. Even my salary. It’s so visible that we send it out to everyone every single month– showing exactly who we are and what we stand for.
I’ve lived with this approach now for more than 3 years. It’s painful, horrible, infuriating. I’ve screamed in more meetings than I care to admit about what a dumb idea this was, how much I hate it. I’ve walked out more than once saying I’m changing it.
But I never end up following thru… because what I’ve really discovered is that while it’s an incredible burden, It’s also an enormous relief.
Transparency for me has meant I need to have conviction with my choices. I don’t get to be sloppy or lazy or shrug stuff behind any curtains. If I make a decision, everybody see’s and feels it.
When someone gets a raise, and when someone doesn’t… it means that we have to face the hard truth about what defines success and what we stand for and what we believe. No funny business. It’s created a level of equality that is hard to execute, but FEELS right at the end of the day.
For me, It’s what I call forced mindfulness. I can’t do something without thought, I simply don’t have the luxury. I must be mindful of my actions and intentions, I must get clear about what I stand for and I must be ready 24/7 to defend it in any and all settings, to hundreds of people who all see things a little differently.
It’s really taught me to be ok with people not agreeing with me. It’s taught me to build consensus and how to sway people over time by doing what’s right and telling the truth.
I’ve found this transparency is contagious. I find myself open and transparent in most aspects of my life now and always realizing that while it may not feel good in the moment, it ALWAYS works out better in the end.
Opening up in our business has shown me the value of making sure that my actions and behavior are in alignment with who I want to be and how I want to show up in the world and I’ve found it to be a natural progression to take this transparency and open book policy to everything because I want to be someone who is certain, mindful and deliberate and who believes in what he’s doing enough that I’m willing to fail or succeed on a grand, visible scale.
I’ve found the pressure of that yields awesome results.
More than all else, I’ve found that truth always spreads.
1. (of a material or article) allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen.