Solving the Unsolved – Tips for Creating Transparency and Alignment
Solving complex problems with limited resources is an obstacle nearly every organization faces from time to time, yet few are able to overcome this problem in an efficient and sustainable fashion. Often, these organizations are plagued by difficulties such as disjointed collaboration and inconsistent involvement between cross-functional departments (like IT, merchandising, marketing, supply chain, and human resources).
Transparency is the key to developing successful solutions for “unsolvable” problems.
- The first essential task is creating a culture of transparency among all employees.
- Once there is a free flow of vital information, you break down the complexity by applying a simple and structured approach.
- During this structured approach, it is essential to promote cross-functional involvement and alignment between all levels of the organization.
You may think “transparency” is a cliché word that has several—often confusing—meanings, especially in a business context. However, TPG has found that building a transparent culture is an absolute business requirement for success. Transparency helps employees stay connected to the big picture, inspires creative solutions, promotes organizational steadiness and dependability, and above all leads to faster and more efficient execution.
Still not convinced? Here’s how transparency has allowed TPG to succeed where other organizations have failed.
1. In order to build a steady foundation for a transparent company culture, you must first align senior leadership. It’s essential that you build alignment in the understanding of the organization’s goals from the top down, because all information cascades downward from the senior leadership. When working with a client recently, we found that there was an inherent disagreement between IT leadership and merchandising in terms of company goals and perceived success factors. This disagreement cascaded downwards to hundreds of employees, who each developed conflicting ideas of what success truly meant.
2. Emphasize the financial impact of every decision. One of the first activities TPG does when solving a problem for a client is to build a business case outlining the direct and indirect benefits of solving that particular problem. We do this to remain objective and to be as fact-based as possible when delivering solutions. However, we often we see organizations make decisions based on intuition or subjective factors. To build transparency, it is important to instruct employees on how their decisions effect the bottom line, and to put themselves in the CFO role.
3. Devise ways to communicate with front line employees. There are many ways to continually communicate with front line employees without the use of email or weekly reports. Although it is important to provide weekly progress and performance updates, this step is not enough to build a culture of transparency. TPG has implemented systems that clearly illustrate vital information and real time metrics to front line employees, so that there is an easy way to determine if the transparency value is being put into action.
4. Keep people posted. We often see organizations attempt to solve problems with a small group of people, who hide all of the information until a big reveal at the end. But in order to implement successful solutions to “unsolvable” problems, businesses must shift towards a habit of constantly interacting with all employees involved on a regular basis. You can achieve this by updating employees on the project schedule and recent accomplishments, or by building a calendar of available times that you will walk through the halls and answer questions. Keeping everyone posted builds trust and keeps everyone connected to the big picture.
A culture of transparency is the foundation your business needs in order to build successful solutions.
All of the above are tips to increase transparency and alignment to solve the most complex problems facing your organization. Remember: you cannot build a house without first constructing the foundation, and for businesses, a culture of transparency is the foundation needed to succeed. Instead of rushing to solutions, first ensure that you have a strong culture of transparency, and implementing solutions to “unsolvable” problems will become much simpler.
Are you ready to stop wasting countless business dollars on failed solutions, and start building a culture of transparency in your organization? The Poirier Group can help! Contact us today.