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Exposing the Truth About Company Transparency

I recently returned from a trip to Atlanta where I had an excellent opportunity to speak at Owner Summit. Owner Summit is a conference for other digital studio owners to listen to the speaker line up, attend breakout sessions and talk shop and learn from one another.  The Bureau of Digital Affairs, a collaboration with Greg Hoy and Carl Smith, say the mission of the summit "Is to Help Digital Studio Owners Realize That We're Actually All in It Together." 

Having attended multiple Bureau events, I can say their mission is a success. The conference itself offers so much great knowledge sharing and builds upon ongoing relationships. And it's because the conference was created with the culture of transparency in mind, that it makes it a place where people feel safe. This transparency is in an effort for everyone to share their company's experiences, the good and the bad so that we can all learn from each other. 

The topic of my talk just so happened to be about creating Transparency in your company as a way to empower your team to be more successful. As a User Experience (UX) company, the thought of building a better Employee Experience (EX) is something that is important to us. A Transparency model is something that we have been working on at eHouse for the past few years so for my talk I shared a few of the things that I believe have helped us create a stronger team. Since Transparency can be defined in so many different ways, I think each company needs to establish their definition and the outcome that they want to achieve by being more transparent to set themselves up for greater success. Doing so will help clarify for you as the owner as well as the team as to why you are sharing more information about the company.  

This is the eHouse transparency statement: 

By creating a model and culture of transparency, we hope to foster a trust that empowers our team to be stronger and more prosperous.

So now that you know why you want to be more transparent, how do you do it? I have focused on three main areas in our current model.

1. The 4 C's: Communication, Conflict, Context, and Consistency

The 4 C's help create a culture that fosters authentic and honest communication even in conflict. The right amount of context can help to create clarity throughout all communication. Lastly, having consistency in how and when you communicate will help support the first of the C's. 

2. The 4 $'s: Revenue, Expenses, Profit, and Productivity

Reviewing these four financial elements has given our team enough to understand the checks and balances of running a business and build upon their financial acumen. We like to think they have a better sense of "How to Play the Game." 

3. The 3 B's: Boundaries around Feedback, Decisions, and Mistakes

The flip side of a Transparency model is that people can feel watched or too exposed. Creating clearer boundaries is a way to create a safe environment where you can be yourself and learn from mistakes while celebrating the wins. 

Similar to the experience and mission at Owner Summit, we want our team to feel empowered by having access to more information and being part of a culture that supports learning and growing together. While a transparency model is something that needs to scale with your business,  these are some fundamentals that we have found are creating a team that is empowered and continuing to strive for greater success. 

Big thanks to Greg, Carl and the entire Owner Summit team for allowing me to speak and be a part of this incredible experience.