When David Seigel was CEO of Investopedia, he brought in a policy of complete transparency. Every worker could access every report, join any metric meeting, sign up to any email list.2
In three years as the CEO of Investopedia, I came to understand that smart decisions are made based on data and that the greatest reason for disagreement in organizations is the asymmetrical access to reports.
Total transparency means sharing the good and the bad — even when it’s uncomfortable. John Mulally, widely thought of as the saviour of Ford, knew that sharing the bad meant the problem got fixed.3 That facing down the sweaty-palmed horror of showing your failings made things better, not worse.
We celebrate every issue that one might consider to be a problem. When you're off plan or something happens, we celebrate that as a gem. Meaning: 'I'm glad we know, thank you very much.' Facts and data. The data sets you free.
At Amazon, it helps leaders make faster decisions when they “disagree and commit.”
If you have conviction on a particular direction even though there's no consensus, it's helpful to say, ‘Look, I know we disagree on this but will you gamble with me on it? Disagree and commit?’
At NASA, trust helped a complex team of scientists and engineers to land a rover on Mars – 350 million miles away – with an unmovable deadline.
You need to respect and love and cherish the people and allow the ideas to do brutal intellectual combat.
Phase Lead and Development Manager (EDL) of the Curiosity lander.5
At Netflix, trust sets the tone for how new employees think about everything they do.
Our policy for travel, entertainment, gifts, and other expenses is 5 words long: ‘act in Netflix’s best interest.’
Netflix's culture deck6
For instance, the New Zealand All Blacks – the most successful Rugby Union team of all time – are famous for their commitment to the team’s core values.7
After every game, the team doesn’t just get changed and leave the dressing room full of sweaty gear and wet towels. They all do their part in “sweeping the sheds” and cleaning up.
There’s no player who’s "too big to clean". Everyone rolls their sleeves up and puts in the work. Even when it comes to the bits they don’t like, that they didn’t train for, that will never get them noticed. Everyone knows that the dressing room needs to be cleaned up after they use it anyway. So being the ones to clean it shows humility and respect.
It’s largely about taking responsibility for your own actions and not having any sense of entitlement. In rugby, we like to think of it as very much a team sport, whereby your actions directly impact on your teammates’ actions, how well they can play their game.
Former All Black8
A total commitment to rolling your sleeves up means working hard at the things that make the work possible, that make your colleague’s lives easier, because you care about the end goal.