What better topic for me to write about other than building a culture of openness and feedback in your organization. After all, this is the product that we sell at SelfStir. But lets look at it first from your perspective, or mine as a business owner; lack of openness or feedback wastes most of people’s energy in the organization. We’ve heard it so many times; Lack of openness in the workplace is very costly. You don’t have to take my word for it, ask your people. Play the role of the Organizational Development Consultant for a few hours; talk with individuals and ask these 2 questions:

  1. What wastes your time in this organization
  2. What wastes your energy in this organization

I’ve done it with many clients as a consultant and here is what I mostly found.

What wastes people’s time are issues related to policies, processes and systems; these should be re-evaluated and re-designed based on the feedback of the stakeholders, and changing internal and external environments. What wastes people’s energy are almost always related to conflict stemming from people issues – personality clashes, poor leadership/silos, lack of openness, lack of collaboration, lack of integrity, and differences in core values.

Now if you can, usually with the help of HR, measure the costs associated with your findings: wasted time, bad decisions, illness and days off due to negative emotions and lack of motivation, decreased effectiveness and efficiency and most importantly, decreased creativity, an opportunity cost which is difficult to measure. If you can’t, just guestimate.

But here’s some good news, the exercise you just did is an intervention in itself that can be a step towards building a culture of openness and feedback. Of course your job is not done just yet, the most important thing is to take action. Choose a few low-hanging fruits and resolve them on the spot, assuming you have the authority to do so. Also, place action plans for the other concerns that have been surfaced. Communicate it to your whole organization. For issues that are not going to be considered, be open and honest and explain the reason, most people will respect that.

After this exercise, if you do not feel a surge of energy in your organization or team, then the costs outweigh the benefits of having an open culture. If, on the other hand, you want to pursue the initiative, first be a role model and then add these competencies to the development program of all your leaders, heck, you can even add it to their performance review. If you need additional help, you can use free tools such as ours (www.selfstir.com) or sign up for our Business Solution. Other surveys, such as culture or engagement surveys can also help. But most importantly… respect people’s openness, listen to their feedback and use the data to build a highly effective and healthy organization.


About Diana Seyouri

diana2Diana Seyouri is the Managing Director of SelfStir Limited . She is passionate about people and organization development. Being surrounded with software engineers almost all the time, she is now taking online course in web development. Her team have now become her teachers.