Over my business career, both as a C-suite executive and as a consultant, I have witnessed many differing management styles. One of the things I find particularly disturbing is when someone withholds essential information from a subordinate because they believe that “knowledge is power.”
Management needs to operate as a team, not a fiefdom
Years ago when I started working in the advertising business, I had a client whose company was organized so that the finance department did not share financial information with the product management department.
Each time the product management department wished to introduce a new product or for that matter, launch a promotion, they had to go back to the finance department to get approval. The approvals were in the form of a yes or no.
What’s wrong with that?
Shared knowledge makes people smarter!
Sharing data, financials, consumer research, new product development and all other relevant information allows your people to think about problems and solutions in broader ways and consequently, allows for more better, more successful solutions.
More recently when I was working with a certain organization, it really took me by surprise when I found out that the CEO was not sharing monthly financial information with the COO.
Why would one operate that way? And whose fault was it?
You could blame the CEO because he was not getting the most out of his people. Sharing information helps identify problems and issues. Being sensitized to the problems at hand helps create focus and perhaps provides alternate solutions to problems.
But you also have to hold the COO responsible. Why was he/she not demanding this information? How could they run the business without all the dashboards and indicators? How can you develop a strategic plan without understanding what is going on, on a monthly or yearly budgeted basis?
In the end, everyone was at fault.
I firmly believe in full disclosure.
Give people all the tools and information to run the business. Management is a team. The senior team needs to have full knowledge of all facets of the company, and withholding information is not the way to maximize the value of the team.
To put it another way, senior people given significant responsibility need to understand the finances of the organization, perhaps more so than even the board of directors of that organization.
Not having all the dashboard tools readily available makes them less than competent to operate and plan effectively within an organization. In essence, they’ve got one hand tied behind their back.
CEOs holding back this data should think about where and how they wish their people to operate and the type of environment they are creating. I think this is crucial to ensure maximum impact in fulfilling the goals necessary for success.
To learn how sharing information could help your company be more productive, please contact me. I’d love to talk with you!