We are Open Book.
We have no secrets. Trust is important and we believe in being honest, vulnerable, & transparent. We share information to empower each other.
Some of you remember the high school open book test right? You are given time and the textbook is wide open. All of the answers are right in front of you. If you only knew the subject well enough to grasp it! This was my struggle in things like trigonometry and physics. Open book didn’t matter; I still could not grasp it without help. That is how I feel about the cultural concept of Open Book.
When we say Open Book, we mean that you have access to any information you need to run your desk and do your job. Our numbers are posted on the wall in our Situation Room for all to see. Our meetings are open, so anyone can join if they can make it. But perhaps most importantly, Open Book is about understanding the numbers behind running your business. My quest has always been that information and knowledge can really empower you. It is better than title and tenure if you ask me. So being Open Book means “Ask me anything.” You might not like the answer or you might not be able to grasp the answer!
Many years ago when we first started the company everyone was invited to a monthly all-hands meeting to review the profit and loss statement of the company. I felt that if I could just show everyone the numbers that we could all act and think like owners. Maybe we don’t need all of those office supplies? Maybe we should try and ask that vendor for a better price? The key has always been to empower through information. Not everyone likes numbers and financial statements. If you ask me, a perfect Saturday night is a beer and a P and L statement. (I know, I am so wild!)
If we teach things like margins and what goes into an expense line item then we can talk directly to customers in an intelligent way. I think our industry wants to treat you and I like a dummy. I don’t believe in rate cards or ATS systems that have locked or fixed fields for entering the price or mark-up on an assignment or engagement! My vision is for all of you to have the skills and understanding of numbers so that you can be intrapreneurial but Open Book also means there are NO secrets. By the way, I don’t think companies and leaders intentionally keep you in the dark! I think we have to work really hard to plan to communicate with each other. We have to work hard to think about who needs to know something that might be happening in our business! The bottom line is this, when you perceive that you don’t know enough, you probably don’t, and the business has to do better than that!