Clarifing the Importance of Transparency at Work

Transparent Communication & Financial Health

This is post is in response to Tom Szaky’s  piece in the You’re the Boss section of the New York Times.

What is the company thinking?

Transparency is vital for building effective communication in a company. In order for employees and managers to gain confidence in that transparency, a company also must work to sustain transparency over time. TerraCycle has found a way to do that well.

Most of us have worked in organizations that fear sharing information. When information is withheld, the unsavory alternative is that employees make-up what they don’t know – often assuming the worst. That breeds mistrust and doubt in every level of a company. In an economic climate that is full of uncertainty, clear and inclusive communication about a company’s financial information brings a welcome sense of calm.

In 2003 I started working with open-book management, a management process made popular by Jack Stack, John Case, Karen Berman and many others. This model is not only about developing transparency in communication, but also developing financial intelligence and accountability in every employee in a company – from the CEO to the cleaning crew. The basic idea is that employees need to be given a solid view of the financial workings of the company on a daily basis and then given the responsibility to help grow a solid and healthy company. It expects that employees are smart enough to understand financial information and that it is management’s job to make sure that they do.

Manangement by the numbers

What this approach has taught me is that understanding your company, knowing its points of vulnerability, and choosing to share financial information in an open, accountable way can shift vulnerabilities into strengths. This happens when formerly feared and hidden information is shared clearly – and when employees know that they are valued enough to be told the truth.


More Posts

The Four-Year Plan

Making the most of a playful reminder that our work moves, grows, and is accomplished in cycles. “What’s our five-year plan?” It’s a common question. Planning, goal-setting, and communication are all part of good organizational operations. But when we focus on the handy number five, we miss an opportunity that is staring at us on

Leap Year – 2024

It’s February 2024 – the month that contains the leap day in this leap year. Leap year is the scrappy little work-around that keeps our calendars in sync with the seasons and gives us 366 rather than 365 days in our trip around the sun. If the label holds true, this is a good time for taking leaps,

My Theme for This Year

Fruitfulness. January 10, 2024 How are you faring in this second week of January? Recovered from the holiday? Avoided flu-like symptoms? I hope you are happy, well-rested, and healthy as we start 2024. I’m not a huge fan of resolutions for a new year, but I do love a good theme. A theme can influence my

Returning to Work

“Returning” to Work

Topic of the Moment: Returning to Work Many organizations are currently in the midst of “return to work” planning. After a year of a pandemic-related workarounds,  people are brainstorming about how to, once again, share space with colleagues and become liberated from endless hours on Zoom.  While it’s wonderful that we can have these discussions (three cheers for


Which traits make you happiest & most effective?

Download your Character Compass and reconnect to the things that bring more satisfaction and joy to your work.

Scroll to Top