Transparency and Accountability

Good read.

I have a management pattern that I refer to that just says “transparency is a serious accelerant”. I refer to it often. I’ve watched first-hand as teams of talented people moved with more energy, advancing faster towards a goal because they understood how those goals fit into the larger picture. And they had access to that larger picture.

It definitely gets more difficult to be transparent as a leader as your organization grows, because context must be provided and expectations must be set. But the upside is that when you allow your entire team to both see what’s going on with your strategy and ask questions in a public forum, your culture will be immensely strengthened and your credibility as a leader will solidify. I’ve watched leaders answer “I don’t know, but we need to get that question answered, thank you for bringing it up!” and their teams rallied behind them because they were transparent and honest with their team.

See also:

Boz on Honesty and Optimism

The honest approach can become self fulfilling. Work that might have been done faster almost never is, so it takes upside out of the equation. Setbacks don’t just stall progress for the groups immediately affected but can destabilize other groups. In an industry where shipping is a feature and timing is everything this is a real risk. 

The optimistic approach can burn trust between teams and their leadership and also burn people out. It usually entails maintaining a secret schedule of expectations separate from the one shared with teams. It can make leadership look out of touch at best or exploitative at worst. 

Of course this is a false dichotomy. We have to do both.

Read the whole thing (2m)

Friday links

  1. Tom Tunguz on productive group zoom meetings
  2. SpaceX successful hopper flight
  3. YC now has a content library
  4. A rare glimpse inside of a Chinese internment camp
  5. A quick primer on isometric rendering