Transparency into organizations

When I am put in charge of a project I normally start asking questions. I ask a lot of questions because the more I know the easier it is for me to understand what is expected the project to be. And sometimes the questions that I made seem to be not so much correlated with the project itself. This is typical of my style of doing things. I want to have clear in mind the full picture of the project, starting from the customer needs, the reasons for the request, the country where the product will be sold and so on. But I want to know more. I want to know the expectations of the customer, of the company management, of the potential customers and so on. Basically in mind I want to create the best picture as possible, like a Prezi presentation, a big picture where you can zoom in and see all the small details and even more. If you do not give me all the information I need, of course the result of my project will be less accurate, or let’s say, less effective.

The same is valid for all organizations in general. The more you know about the organization, the more efficient you could be in meeting the organization expectations, the more easily you will be integrated into the organization itself. Unfortunately I should say that in this case there is a big difference between the delivering of information for a technical project and the delivering of organization information in general.

In the case of a technical project when I ask questions the result is very simple – or I get the answer or I will not get the answer because the answer is still unknown (and sometimes is part of the project to find it out). In the case of information within organization, the situation is a little more “blurry” – sometimes you receive the answer, sometimes you will not because this information is “reserved”. Or even worst, sometimes it is better to don’t even ask questions on that subject.

All this comes to the tile of this post. The transparency into organizations. There is great post with title: “Transparency is the New Leadership Imperative” which speaks about the modern concept of leadership and transparency.

As I said before, if you want to be really effective and manage at best all the resources that you have you must know the full picture together with the small details. And your team and your employes are the most important resource that you have and should be put in the best possible condition to drive your company to the global competition. In order to do that the sharing of information between the organization, with no secrets and with complete transparency, is the key factor to be competitive. Of course the way that you deliver the information is very important and is the crucial factor for having excellent managers into the company.

The old style companies where the top level management knows the most, than the middle managers know less but have to report everything, and the low level employees know almost nothing is over. This model of business could still survive for a while. But in the nowadays society where there is an excess of information and the channels for delivering information are so diversified and easy to use the real challenge is not keep information for yourself but it is to be able to distribute the information as best as possible. An excellent manager today is not anymore the one with experience but is the one able to transfer experience, the one able to facilitate the delivering of information at all levels of the organization itself.

A book that changed my life part 2

Why some managers are so effective. And what are the best managers? The ones reaching the best results? And what is the best strategy to reach that results?
These were some of the questions that were running in my mind when I decided to accept the new job as an engineering manager. To my eyes, and by the examples that I had so far, the only important thing was the final result! And to achieve that “the others” are just an instrument to reach that goal and sometimes also a threat to that. Basically what the people around me was doing was only to squeeze people like lemons creating a lot of expectations but basically not caring at all about me and my colleagues. ‘If I believe you are useful for me then I show (just show…) some interest on you, if not then I’ll try to get rid of you!’
Do I want to be like this? Of course not! It’s not me, I can’t be like that! But the new job position was very challenging and also was something that I was looking for…
I accepted the job, but still I didn’t felt well, I was plenty of doubts…
So I started to read “If Harry Potter ran General Electric”. This book has opened for me a new world. It showed me trough a simple model (Harry Potter books) that the best leaders, the best people, the most successful people in the world have solid values, strong believes and an absolutely and incredible respect for the others.
I remember that I was in Paris airport and I read the following sentence (a quotation of Sirius Black): “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”
Is it so simple? YES IT IS. It opened my mind. I started thinking about how many people I know that acts like this. I realized immediately what was really making the difference between what I consider the outstanding people and the others. And it is just that simple. If you care about the others before than yourself, if you believe that everybody is important, that there is so much in everybody around yourself that you must respect every single human being.
So I decided to start my new adventure with this thing clearly painted in my mind!
Sometimes it is not easy, sometimes you have to be tough and sometimes people don’t understands you. But if you really care about others, then you will understand which is the best approach.
One thing that I do that really helps me in practice is the following: “never ask someone to do something that I don’t want to do”. Then there are roles and responsibilities. “If I was you and someone is going to ask me to do that, then I will do it, and so you have to do it too!”

A colleague of mine told me: “it is easier to run an entire plant by yourself than managing a single person.” And it is absolutely true. But when I go back home and I look in to my son’s eyes I feel in peace with myself. And this is what really matters!