Transparency is a critical element in any company. It's especially crucial at new venture because it helps support efforts to scale the business. As CFO of several startups, I've seen and experienced the power transparency brings to any organization.
Transparency is more than just a buzzword, though board meetings and industry events tend to overuse the term. Saying it and successfully executing it are two different things. CFOs can strip away the superficiality by helping other leaders understand that transparency makes good ethical and business sense.
Values are the compass that helps set the course for how your company will approach key decisions such as hiring, employee development and strategic planning. Have you thought about how well your company’s values will scale as you grow? Your core values should stand the test of time -- from your company's inception to its rise as a meaningful and growing organization. You can't spend precious time making material changes to your culture as your size increases. There simply are too many challenges inherent in business models, execution and the market at large.
Transparency runs from the CEO down through every level of the organization. It's the only way employees an understand your expectations and how you'll measure success. Scalable values help develop talent within your company. Establish clear channels and methods to interact with individuals across the entire organization. Think of it as the table stakes in today's competitive environment.
Core values are the firm bedrock upon which you can accelerate your hiring. List your values prominently across your web presence and your mobile outreach. This is critical to ensure alignment between candidates you engage and the company’s recruiting process. During the interview stage, all employees who interact with candidates should embody the company's values. Realize that a candidate's perception of your business and feedback on any representative of your company can impact your brand. It's worth going to great lengths to make certain the recruiting process is a positive experience for potential hires.
Transparency in reporting can help build trust among every member of your company. Does everyone within your organization understand how the business is performing, which metrics are important and how you compare to your competition? Sharing this key information on a regular basis is the best way to educate your team. It also reinforces how your actual performance is progressing against short- and long-term goals. Once you begin giving these periodic updates, you should find employees feel more empowered and will strive to learn more about your company’s products and overall market opportunity.
Your company’s approach to communication must be very thoughtful and consistent. Once again, sharing information regularly is the best way to secure employee buy-in to the strategic plan and key milestones. Feedback generated from this type of consistent dialogue can help strengthen alignment across the organization. As a result, you'll develop deeper loyalty to the company and its overall mission.