Transparency = Competitive Advantage

How can transparency become your competitive advantage?
We’ve broken it down to three areas that you can bring in transparency into your company so that you can transform it into your competitive advantage and why.

Transparency in:

  • How much your colleagues are earning: Transparency on the cost structure of your company can prove to create an incredible bond of trust within the organisation. This not only shows how much each position earns but clearly explains why. No one is left out and there are no hidden deals behind closed doors, which gives employees a sense of clear direction and certainty.
  • What your colleagues are doing: This helps employees keep track of where they are personally on a project but also what areas their colleagues are tackling, how much time they’re spending on it which holds people accountable to certain tasks. “In addition to sharing daily learnings and progress, everyone on the team also shares where they struggled and how they’re trying to improve.” This can be used to help people become more efficient and part of the team.
  • What your business goal is: Having a clear business goal that is apparent to both your internal customers and your external customers makes a statement about your company. Not only does the world know that, Google’s company mantra is “Don’t be evil”, but it is something that they will be held accountable for. Similarly, you will have to stand by your business goal and this gives your company a great amount of transparency and therefore trust in your brand.

“When you’re treating employees well, transparency is a very simple proposition–it’s just telling people what you do…it’s as easy as telling the truth.”

Read more on transparency in your business here. 

What your Company needs: More Elegance

I think this is a fantastic article that demonstrates the power of using Big ‘D’ design for the purpose of growing your business using focus and well…..elegance.

What Your Company Needs: More Elegance
By Jessica Stillman
May 19th, 2009

* The Find: It’s usually a quality associated more with evening wear than management, but one expert is arguing that businesses should up their elegance quotient to succeed.

* The Source: An interview with Matthew E. May, the author of In Pursuit of Elegance: Why the Best Ideas Have Something Missing, conducted by blogger and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki and published on the American Express Open Forum blog.

The Takeaway: Whether it’s a mission statement, a strategy, the formulation of a goal or a product design, May argues you should aim for elegance in your ideas. First things first, what exactly does he mean by the term? “Something is elegant if it is two things at once: unusually simple and surprisingly powerful. One without the other leaves you short of elegant,” he says. Great, so why is this quality so important?

Elegance cuts through the noise, captures our attention, and engages us. The point of elegance is to achieve the maximum impact with the minimum input. It’s a thoughtful, artful subtractive process focused on doing more and better with less.

Certainly it’s easier to remember an idea that’s short and punchy and minimalist products – think of all those little iPods nestled in everyone’s pocket or purse – certainly seem to earn consumers’ loyalty and love, but have other companies succeeded by focusing on elegance? May offers the surprising example of “freakishly popular” hamburger chain In N’ Out Burger – an establishment not usually associated with elegant dining. He explains:

The menu offers only five items: a hamburger, cheeseburger, double burger, French fries, and a short list of beverages. By keeping things simple, founder Harry Snyder says he is able to provide the highest quality food in a sparkling clean environment.

In ‘N Out understands that seduction, and that subtraction can simply mean “not adding.” By resisting formal menu expansion they’ve avoided the self-defeating overkill seen in consumer electronics, with its “feature creep,” and the resulting “feature fatigue.

Microsoft Word, famous for its seemingly endless features most users never needed nor wanted, is cited as a classic example of a feature fatigue inducing product, but how many managers have induced a similarly sleepy feelings in their teams by failing to reduce their aims down to a simple, streamlined and compelling idea and instead throwing a messy list of duties, goals and responsibilities at their employees?