Steven Sinofsky+ Your Authors @stevesi ॐ • investing • advising • writing • with @a16z @boxhq @tanium @everlaw… • Writings @ • 📷•🧘🏻‍♂️• tweets kept for 3 months Nov. 21, 2019 2 min read + Your Authors

1/ Google Shakes Up Its 'TGIF'—and Ends Its Culture of Openness  by @StevenLevy // It is still possible to ask the boss any question (email, messaging). When Google started these, it seemed "obvious" that it would not scale. Some thoughts...

2/ Time zones, work from home, travel, customers/partners and their perspectives, outside commitments/demands, and more make the logistics impossible even at modest scale.

But email and async written words remain and should be used.

3/ What does scale are authentic communications on important topics--questions and answers.

In fact, written words can be more thoughtful and readily absorbed (for example, english as a second language) and sound way less like "dodge" or "spin".

4/ Of course, written words can easily turn into communication written by others, sanitized, polished, and assumed to leak. That's the real challenge and what leads to the biggest lesson I experienced.

"Transparency" is a great word but there are degrees of transparency.

5/ Even among friends and family, there is rarely complete transparency ("yes, I love this birthday gift"). With complex issues, many stakeholders, and more it is entirely plausible that "transparency" is counter-productive.

It is more like translucency.

6/ Translucency works when there is trust--trust granted to executives in what is said, and trust executives have that what is said stays in the "family".

Translucency also respects the broad network/ecosystem of customers and partners that depend on reliable information too.

7/ I think as long as possible startups should do regular all-hands.

I think most groups in big companies (n < 100) should have regular all-hands.

With open Q&A.

I think every exec at every company should have an "open inbox" policy and commit to genuine responses and...

8/ ...should take the time and have a forum to share genuine, first person, responses to questions of strategy and culture to the whole organization.

9/ My own experience was that having to write a response out as a blog post that can be shared forces much more rigor in policy, strategy, and culture.

Writing is thinking after all ♻ 

10/ This concept of transparency or translucency was a big lesson for me. Here's a post on that specific topic that might be interesting. ♻ 

PS/ In a bit of irony, when I first wrote this post and sent to the whole Windows team (10K people, though all of MSFT could see it) the post leaked and was posted by a reporter.

PPS/ It is easy to be seduced by selective "transparency" -- both as an exec and as a company -- that is transparency when the stakes are low. Companies often try to get transparency credit where it doesn't matter much, which can create distrust among stakeholders over time.

You can follow @stevesi.


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