Most startup leaders I know pay lip service to transparency.
“We tell our employees everything we reasonably can,” is an all too common refrain. Implicit in this sentiment is the idea that employees just couldn’t handle the full truth. If they knew about the VP of Product’s concerns about product-market fit, the CEO’s worries about running out of cash, or the Director of Marketing’s disagreement with the CTO, they’d be searching for another job immediately. After all, “we need to keep morale up.”
But I’ve never once seen a team that’s unaware of the cash flow problems, the market misalignment, or the healthy (and sometimes unhealthy) disagreements on the leadership team.
They may not say anything, but the team always knows. And little by little, as management pretends these issues don’t exist, the rank and file team members that actually make, market, and sell the product lose faith in the CEO and the leadership team.
The folks at VentureFizz did a great interview with Andy Cook, CEO of Tettra on some of the benefits of more transparency. Check it out.