The Vision, Strategy and Objectives process, will output a set of objectives, and owners of each objective. This gives us a sense of where we are going. It is equally important to have a sense of where we are.
It is useful, for many reasons, to know what is going on.
In a small enough organization, there is no need to make this formal. Everybody knows what’s going on by virtue of the fact that they are sitting in the same room and having lunch together each day.
But once an organization is past the stage of everybody having lunch together each day, not everybody knows what is going on by default. People stewarding roles in Construction Ops may know what is going on in Arizona, but not in Community Design, or in Dog, and vice versa.
There are several reasons to make the goings-on in one realm transparent to those in other realms. First, most realms are interdependent. What is happening in Dog and Community Design affects Construction Ops. What is happening in People Ops affects everybody. Second, several roles (for example, Investor Relations, Project Finance, Recruiting, Communications), require a broad view of what is going on in the company in real time. Third, knowing what people are working on allows a natural way to give unsolicited advice; people don’t need to wait until a formal advice process request to give advice. And finally, knowing what people are doing is a great tool for learning, both learning about the company and also learning from the way people go about their work.
The output of transparent updates should have four characteristics:
- It should be regular. Weekly is a reasonable cadence in a fast-growing company.
- It should be easily skimmable. People should be able to quickly get a high-level sense of what is going on in the company.
- It should allow for deep dives. If somebody is interested in diving into what each person in Construction Ops did last week, they should be able to.
- It should tie into Objectives. It should serve as a reminder to each person about what the current objectives are, and how we are doing against them.
Each week, each person should write a brief update for each of the objectives in the roles and realms that they steward. The update should contain two things: whether the objective is on track (red if not, green if so), and 1-2 sentences of the work done in the last week, and optionally, 1-2 sentences on the work planned for next week and any obstacles. Arrange the updates so that people can easily see the updates for the top-level realms, and take a deep dive into any realm.
Once the updates are set, people may use them to understand and support others who need support, to give unsolicited advice through the Advice process. Have updates visible via the Intranet, and, as appropriate, in the Newsletter.