Fieldamental # 21: Share Information

SHARE INFORMATION. Communicate.  Communicate.  Learn to ask yourself, “Who else needs to know this?”  With appropriate respect for confidentiality, practice transparency and share information freely.  The more people know, the better we can collaborate, and the more effective we can be.

If knowledge is power, then information is powerful!

This Fieldamental is another one that is part of the fabric of our culture.   We have always shared the financial performance of Field in the quarterly P & L reviews.  We share the detailed strategic and financial plans and provide regular updates to our performance against these plans.  We all see the same daily metrics so we can all keep our “fingers on the pulse” of the business constantly.  All of this information is shared with the team as part of our commitment to transparency with the team.

Giving everyone the same important information increases our ability to collaborate on important issues as a team.  We can then leverage multiple team members experience and insights to develop the most effective solutions to our challenges.  When we communicate information freely, we increase the effectiveness of the decisions we make, we also increase the consistency of the decisions we make.  If multiple team members have the same data and are working towards the same objective, they are likely to make the same or similar decisions.  This is exactly what we talked about for Fieldamental #19, think and act like an owner.  Our ability to work together as a team increases when all of the team members are working from the same information & data towards the same goals & objectives.

The method of sharing information depends on the type of information, the people involved and the timing of the communication.  Field has established a “rhythm” for overall team meetings, huddles, cross functional team meetings, project teams, and others regular meetings.  This is the perfect time to share certain types of information with your other team members.  It ensures people hear the same message, people can ask questions to increase the understanding and you minimize the opportunity for misunderstanding.  Take advantage of our meetings to share information and communicate personally, Fieldamental #20.  More sensitive information may be best shared with other team members individually; this can ensure a more thorough understanding and allow for more detailed conversation to insure clarity.  More technical and detailed information may be best shared electronically so it can be used as a resource or reference in the future.

The other side of this coin is sharing excessive information or the wrong information.  Before you share anything, ensure that all aspects of confidentiality are maintained.  Nothing undermines teamwork worse than exposing confidential information inappropriately.  It also does no good to give information to people if they can’t use it or don’t need it.  Be very mindful of the use of the “reply all” feature in e-mail.  Does everyone really need to see your response?  Use your best judgment when deciding what information to share, every situation is different.  If you are not sure, I suggest you share the information and ask if the information was useful and should be shared in the future.  Share what is important and useful with the appropriate people to facilitate collaboration within the team.