The Importance of Transparency in the Workplace: 3 Benefits

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Great Game of Business" by Jack Stack and Bo Burlingham. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What’s business accessibility? What are the benefits of transparency in the workplace?

Accessibility is sharing enough information that employees can fully understand how the company operates. In The Great Game of Business, Jack Stack and Bo Burlingham say that being transparent with employees increases their accountability, productivity, and teamwork skills.

Keep reading to learn about the importance of transparency in the workplace by understanding the three main benefits.

Benefit #1: Enforced Accountability

Stack and Burlingham emphasize the importance of transparency in the workplace by explaining how it makes employees take responsibility for their choices and the way they affect the rest of the company. This is because it’s easier to trace problems back to their root causes when the details of the company’s operations are openly available, the authors explain. Employees can’t shift blame or hide mistakes when the proof of their responsibility is public.

(Shortform note: People often shift blame when they believe taking responsibility is dangerous. Employees may believe this if their company punishes mistakes harshly—for example, by demoting or firing employees for relatively minor mistakes. This fear causes mental distress and decreases people’s productivity and cooperation. To minimize these problems, encourage a culture of respect and empathy—rather than focusing on blaming or punishing people, focus on what they and the company as a whole can learn from their mistakes.)

Benefit #2: Increased Productivity

Second, business accessibility increases productivity, according to Stack and Burlingham. When employees understand how the company operates, they can adjust their process to best fit that operation, and they can make decisions without having to ask management for constant guidance on how things work.

For example, let’s say Bill submits his order forms the morning after filling them in, rather than the same evening. Once his company increases accessibility, Bill learns that the forms take several hours for the computer system to process. If Bill submits them in the morning, the orders can’t be shipped for several hours. He can increase productivity by submitting the forms in the evening so the computer processes them overnight and the orders can be shipped first thing in the morning.

Benefit #3: Improved Teamwork

Finally, business accessibility encourages teamwork by showing how a company is interconnected. Every department and individual in a company contributes to that company’s success, the authors explain. If one department is struggling to meet its goals, the entire company will be less successful. However, many people in inaccessible work environments don’t realize how interconnected their company is. They consider the success of other departments or co-workers to be completely separate from their own.

An open flow of information helps employees understand the whole company, including how each individual and department affects it and its success. This understanding will encourage teamwork by showing each employee that for the business to succeed as a whole—and, by extension, for each individual to keep succeeding—everyone has to work together to ensure that every department thrives.

The Importance of Transparency in the Workplace: 3 Benefits

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Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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