Journal: People Science - Human Capital Management & Leadership in the public sector Volume 1, Issue 2 Spring/Summer 2014 - Page 24

understood. Transparency was a good strategy, an avenue for encouraging and allowing GSA to be more visible. “Let’s tell our story, let’s get it out there. Let’s let people know who we are and let’s learn to do that because it helps us externally, in building a reputation and our brand.” It also boosts pride for work well done. Transparency is about allowing people to see into an organization. It is also about allowing an organization to stand tall, to share their accomplishments, and to build pride in their work. It becomes a virtuous circle. It’s measurements. Leaders have always used measures to peer into organizations and see what’s happening. My concern, however, is that measures can be a crutch, a way to funnel our anxiety about being in the dark. And, I think that we often overdo it with measures. We’re not using them well. Let me illustrate this. Think about the movie “ET” At the beginning of the movie a space ship has landed in a California forest with ET on board. ET has left the space ship and is hiding under behind some bushes. A strategy to promote transparency is not, to me, a trick Meanwhile, men are racing around him with their to get more information for better decisions for the leader. flashlights. It’s extremely Transparency is about frightening for ET because helping an organization be “… the leader needs to focus on taking the organization … those flashlights are not all that it can be because it is into a place of understanding, knowledge and light.” there to help him find his out there, in the world, and way. They are strong, scary in dialogue with groups other lights that are trying to find and capture him. than just itself. It’s about storytelling and performance discussions. All this improves the flow of information and Measures can be like flashlights. In some cases they show ultimately lessens the dark. the way, illuminating the path. In other cases, they are search and interrogation lights that can scare people and PS: What other strategies do you suggest? make them unnecessarily vulnerable. MJ: Another strategy is flexibility. It’s a skill, one that you A leader’s attitude and use of measures is important. If a have to work on every day. leader uses measures as a way to increase understanding, they will help fight off the dark. If, instead, a leader uses This winter I have been going to a physical therapist measures to find fault, interrogate, and try to catch people because I have a stiff back. I have to reclaim its flexibility. at something, the result will be fear. Employees, like ET, My PT is doing a lot from massage to driving needles will hide wherever and with whatever they can. into my muscles. But it is going to take a daily regimen for three months to regain the flexibility I need. I can’t just Are your measures illuminating or interrogating? Are your hope it will happen. I have to work at it. measures connected to a bigger mission? And therefore, are they illuminating something that’s important? Or are Organizations have to work on being flexible so they can they just gathering data? Let’s use measures in a way find and reach new channels and emerging information. for leaders and employees to This is important to me as well. “Are your measures illuminating or interrogating?” be in the light. As we \