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4 Reasons Your Employees Aren't on the Open-Book Bandwagon

Why employees aren't on-board with open book management

Do you feel like your leadership team is finally ready to take the leap and open the books? But, you're worried some of your team aren't as enthusiastic as you hoped they would be?

If you’re ready to start sharing your financial and operational information with employees, but you get the sense they’re just not ready yet, there could be some very logical – and common – reasons why.

Today we discuss the top four reasons employees aren't ready to jump on the open-book management bandwagon. Maybe there's one or two that apply to your team. 

1. They’re just not convinced.

Your employees might be struggling to believe that anyone actually cares about them. When employees feel like leadership truly values and cares about them they're more likely to jump on the bandwagon and more willing to join you during your company's open-book journey.

Show them that they're committed and really appreciate them as people. A quote in an Inc. article by Jeff Haden sums it up:

Employees enjoying dinner.“Employees don’t really care about what we want them to do until they know how much we care about them. When an employee knows – truly knows – you care about them, then they care about you. And when they know you care, they will listen…and they will do anything for you.”

So, if you're struggling to get your team on the same page - ask yourself this question: "Do my team members believe I care about them?" Then, show them that you do.


2. There's a barrier between them and leadership.

The Great Game of Business® strongly sits on a foundation of trust. When leaders don't make an effort to show how willing and open they are to communicate with their staff, it will be almost impossible to get them on board to really make a change. Employees need to trust that the communication with upper-management is open and valued by all members of the team. 

They might see your efforts to be transparent as "just another business idea of the week". How are they expected to believe you're ready to communicate important company information like the financials or the health of the business if you're not willing to communicate minute business related topics?

Letting them know you're open to communicate by visiting with them in a more candid manner. It will help them learn to trust you and believe you're ready to make a real change. 

Leader training employees.

Additionally, make sure the management team isn't spending all their days hidden behind a closed door in their office. Ask them to get out and chat with people. Get to know them. Allow them an opportunity to get to know, like, and trust you on a deeper level.



3. They don’t feel they can contribute.

If you’re trying to build a more transparent organization and you’re not actively soliciting ideas from employees at all levels of your company, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

Crunch N Munch_01Your employees have more visibility on daily tasks than most people in management and they probably have ideas for how to make significant operational improvements.

Be sure everyone encourages employees to offer verbal suggestions as opposed to a simple “suggestion box” that, as far as your employees know, is never opened.


4. The concept seems too overwhelming.

22 - Huddle - 5

Remember, most of your employees are not accountants and probably won't comprehend all the intricacies of your financial statements right away. Opening your books will be a whole new world to them. It's a learning process and it takes time. Their knowledge about the business might surprise you, but don't be surprised if many of your team members find it all a bit overwhelming. 

Telling your employees you not only want them to learn about the company financials but you also want them to be accountable for the success of the business AND work alongside leadership to build a great company is a lot to swallow. It can be very exciting and intimidating.

Remember to start small. Share the “why” before the “how” and offer staff ample opportunities to educate themselves on the issues that are most important. Slow and steady wins the race.

If any of the above scenarios sound familiar, take a step back and make sure your entire leadership team has the right mentality to make a cultural change like opening your books successful. Beginning with the right leadership is the first step to making any change within your organization.


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One of the building blocks of The Great Game of Business® is the concept of providing a stake in the outcome—connecting the people who create the numbers and the results in the business with the rewards and recognition they deserve. Click below to gain access to resources built to show you how you can create a culture of ownership. 

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Topics: Communication, Leadership, Open-Book Management, Buy-In

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About The Great Game of Business

Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. What lies at the heart of The Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.