Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Performance vs. Transparency: How to improve performance through transparency?

The well-tuned transparency is simple, but not lack profundity; open, but not lack of strategy. 

Transparencyas used in science, engineering, business, the humanities and in a social context more generally, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. It has been defined simply as "the perceived quality of intentionally shared information from a sender". (Wikipedia), the hyper-connective nature of digitalization provides the new level of transparency to run a digital business today, but more specifically, how to improve performance through transparency?

Trust: No doubt about it, transparency is a fundamental factor for performance. However, a pre-requisite for transparency is trust. Trust can only be built in an organizational environment conducive to ideal-seeking behavior (behavior-enhancing organizational structure). Actually, there is the evidence to show that engagement & employee performance are a function of the relationship between a manager/supervisor and his/her direct reports. A company can have all the recognition, celebrations and such it wants, but unless this relationship is a trustworthy one, these activities will be of limited value in increasing engagement & employee performance.

Visibility: It is really important for teams as every member is always aware of how the whole process is going on, what results have already been achieved. Plus, it's always easier to decide who really deserves being rewarded afterward and that's the main incentive, isn't it? Transparency is also important at many levels. Shop-floor workers with each other, and their Supervisors. Managers and Supervisors. Directors and Managers. Directors and Shareholders. This is dependent upon a common vision, a common message, feedback loops, and trust.

The water is too pure, has no fish: Transparency doesn’t mean to be compliant only, or being too “direct”, too straight, or even too “rude”, lack of strategy or profundity. Sometimes the true confrontation is quite effective or innovative. Make everything clear like the water does not permit arguing. Just like the water is too pure, has no fish. Therefore, openness, allowing the different way to do things, encouraging creativity is the positive effect of well-tuned transparency to improve performance.

Systematic Approach: The transparency is to transform the organization into the system approach, not through command-control hierarchy only. You could supervise with control every move. It has to be implemented systematically and communicate democratically. Trust for transparent performance is only possible if the cultural grain, dictated formally or informally, by the leaders at the top support an open and trusting work environment - This is often overlooked as the busy bees buzz around below.

Simplicity: Well align process, technology and talent people to build differentiated capability is a crucial step in improving business performance for the long term, streamline performance management scenario by simplifying systems, processes, objectives and share ownership,  and follow with the amplifying individual, group and organization’s achievements.

Motivation: Rewarding people for taking responsibility and recognizing their worth is key, most people like to receive the financial reward but also trusting them to take work forward without micromanagement liberates the spirit of the team, show respect for all parties. Goals that are measurable, quantifiable and objective (instead of subjective) help the performance management process as well. In order to become more transparent...the assessment process as well as its linkage to rewards should be simple and clear.

Structure: To improve performance people must truly believe in them and this is NOT a matter of people "buying" into them but of knowing it is best for them. Hence, the two fundamental pillars for this to occur are TRUST and TRANSPARENCY and for these to emerge the RIGHT organizational structure must be in place, to let two-way communication flow.

If transparency is the wind under performance’s wing, then, the effective way to transparency is through communicating, communicating and communicating. Remember that communication is a two-way street and we all have two ears and one mouth. Treat it as a program of communication in its own right with different delivery and receiving methods to appeal to as many people as possible, with the ultimate goal to run a high performance, high mature business.


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