Steven Sinofsky+ Your Authors @stevesi ॐ • investing • advising • writing • with @a16z @boxhq @tanium @everlaw… • Writings @ medium.learningbyshipping.com/ • 📷•🧘🏻‍♂️• 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  https://www.wired.com/story/google-shakes-up-its-tgif-and-ends-its-culture-of-openness/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=onsite-share&utm_brand=wired&utm_social-type=earned  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 ♻  https://medium.learningbyshipping.com/writing-is-thinking-an-annotated-twitter-thread-2a75fe07fade 

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. ♻  https://medium.com/@stevesi/on-bigco-leaks-transparency-and-disclosure-6d7812e227a0 

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.


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