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The Number One Open-Book Management Culture Killer: Lack of Trust

Aug 7, 2015 by Aaron Clay 0 Comments

Co-authored by Mark Banks

The number one open-book management culture killer lack of trust

Do either of these two scenarios sound like your company?

  1. The hard-earned time, energy and money that went into creating a work culture for performance is starting to fall apart.
  1. The new implementation of open-book management isn’t gaining any traction.

If either of these sounds familiar, you may be suffering from the number one open-book management culture killer: lack of trust.

gathering of the games speaker-01

Pathways leading to diminished trust include:

  • Inaccurate numbers
  • Ineffective financial literacy
  • Weak stake in the outcome
  • Vague direction going forward.

Lack of trust can seep in and stifle innovation, performance, and collaboration. It can cause chaos and struggle in your open-book management culture. Whatever the reason, it’s time to turn your game around and rebuild (or begin to build) trust.

The good news is there are steps you can take to start the process. Begin by using these five steps to build trust within your program.

Step 1: Acknowledge the Failure

Admitting failure as a leader requires vulnerability, but that is the keystone to creating a healthy trust within your team. Lead by example and be the first to show that it is safe to be unguarded.

Step 2: Analyze Mistakes

What led to the breakdown in trust? Look at past behaviors, ask your people, talk to trusted colleagues and identify all the little pieces that may have led to failure.

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Step 3: Study Previous Failures and Consider Your Successful Recoveries

We’ve all struck out (it’s almost impossible to avoid), but what lessons did we learn from past experiences that could offer a solution to a current challenge?

Step 4: Make Adjustments.

Based on what you’ve concluded, make subsequent changes. We even suggest asking people on the ground for feedback as it often leads to bright ideas bubbling to the top.

Step 5: Continue Adjusting Until It Works

Repeat the previous four steps until you start seeing the actions and behaviors that suggest a level of trust within your team. If you focus on doing your best in every moment, winning won’t be far behind.

Use Failure to Get Better

Failure is not something you can control or avoid; it is simply something from which you can learn and grow. Your team won’t be able to focus on mastering the day-to-day skills of running a business without the essential element of trust.

Remember: Every quarter you win is an accumulation of details done right!

To learn about the other open-book management culture killers (and how to avoid them), join Aaron M. Clay and Mark Banks at The Annual Gathering of Games. Aaron and Mark will be teaching how to start off with a strong mission statement and guiding principles to help you conquer any future workplace culture issues you may face. They will also talk about some techniques the team at Amy’s Ice Creams uses to keep their culture strong.

The Annual Gathering of Games is taking place September 9-11, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri.


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Topics: Open-Book Management, The Annual Gathering of Games

Aaron Clay
Written by Aaron Clay

Aaron M. Clay, Partner, and Coach for Amy's EDU, a cutting-edge training organization offering seminars building infectious company culture, world-class customer service, leadership mindset, speaking with confidence, and open book management. Aaron has been a member of the Amy’s Ice Creams Executive Leadership team for eight years. He has taken a pivotal role in the advancement of open-book management at Amy’s Ice Creams and has developed core curriculum for MBAmy's, an internal education program. As a gadget nerd, Aaron utilizes his passion for communications to connect the story behind the numbers to meaning and the meaning to action.

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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.