Ray Dalio champions the principle of embracing thoughtful disagreement. The ability to exchange controversial ideas without causing problems.
His solution is to consciously ask each other:
- How am I going to be with you? How should you be with me?
- Is it okay for me to be honest with you, that is, me telling you what I really think?
- Are you okay being honest with me?
Ray Dalio argues: “In order to be successful, we have to have independent thinkers — so independent that they’ll bet against the consensus.” And to do that, “You have to put your honest thoughts on the table.” Then, the best ideas rise to the top.
Millennials and Radical Transparency
Millennials have their own take on radical transparency – as consumers, and as employees.
Millennials as Consumers
Millennials as consumers are demanding greater transparency through the supply chain. Recent surveys suggest millennials as consumers as:
- 42% researching where and how goods are made, including the source products
- 66% willing to pay more for sustainable goods
- 50% considering the resale value of new items before purchase
[sources: Forbes; BoF; CSR Wire]
This behaviour is driving value-chain innovation, including tracking from farm/ocean-to-plate on food, from field-to-outlet on textiles, and from consumer-to-recycled for almost every consumer product.
Millennials as Employees
Millennials as employees are rewriting the social contract at work.
Their thinking brings a fresh new perspective to the relationship between employer and employee:
If you want me to be committed to my role and this company, show me the same. Let us see what you are doing as the owner/CEO/executive/leader/boss to take this company forward. Show me you are truly committed to our success and that you genuinely represent the company’s values. Do that, and I’ll show you the same as your employee.
The CEO’s Dilemma
That is a big shift in employee thinking. The wave is imminent, because by 2025 more than 75% of employees will comprise millennials.
Top-down messaging and control does not motivate millennials. One could argue it didn’t really motivate X-Gen either, but they towed the line, stayed with their employer for 3+ years and got the work done.
Progressive leaders, including X-Gen and Baby Boomers, are ready to embrace org-wide engagement and radical transparency. Not just to please millennials. Progressive leaders have already seen first hand the power of collaboration tech in small teams – usually the product, digital marketing and tech teams operating inside their own companies.
Achieving Radical Transparency
The question is, how to make that powerful collaboration experience org-wide, so that radical transparency becomes a natural part of company culture.
Social and work collaboration tools (#slack, yammer, teams, trello, asana, etc) have been a huge step forward since 2009. But these apps still lack structure, an org-wide UX and a strategic context. This creates two problems:
- The risk of adding more distractions and noise
- Lack of adoption by executives and senior managers … bottom up collaboration, whilst positive, loses impact if the decision makers vacate
There is no doubt collaboration tech beats email and static documents. However, collaboration tech today has been designed for small teams of 5 to 30 people. Turn those apps on for hundreds or thousands of employees and the risk is chaos.
Imagine the Future
To achieve radical transparency at work, companies need collaboration tech that has been designed from the outset as an org-wide experience – tech that adds value daily to every employee, across all levels, roles and generations.
To add value org-wide means helping employees with their day to day work, as well as enabling them to contribute to the strategic context and corresponding initiatives.
Imagine if radical transparency could sit within an easy to view strategic context:
- Why is our organization here? (a la Simon Sinek)
- What are we trying to achieve? (a la Prof Roger Martin)
- How are we going to get there? (cascading strategy tree)
- How are we going right now? (live collaboration at every level in the strategy tree)
This would allow every employee to embrace and contribute to what their CEO, executives and managers are trying to achieve.
Such radical transparency delivers on the new social contract of our millennials:
First show me you are committed, then you’ll see my commitment.
A seamless org-wide experience also means:
- Org-design attributes (e.g. @F/sales + @G/APAC) to easily invite people to strategic initiatives, projects, meetings, ideas, challenges, risks, messages, cards and workboards
- Powerful filters and social-with-structure, so people can quickly see exactly what they need to
- Easy to understand security levels, so that radical transparency doesn’t become radically out of control
- Intuitive user experiences, so people of all tech aptitudes don’t need to be trained on how to use it
This future state tech has arrived. It’s called #stratapp.
#stratapp frees you to deliver on everything described above.
With #stratapp you can embrace radical transparency and achieve genuine org-wide collaboration – across all levels, roles and generations – within the relevant strategic context of why the organization exists and what it is trying to achieve.