For CEOs organisational openness offers tremendous upside potential – empowered employees, free-flowing ideas, more creativity and innovation, happier customers, better results.

CEOs believe openness will have the greatest impact on their organizations. They anticipate demands for even more transparency, and the competitive need to open up their organization to collaborate more internally and externally. Interestingly, this emphasis on openness is 30 percent higher among out-performers.

Examples of organisational openness

Mozilla, who is responsible for the open source Firefox web browser, is a great example of an organisation that has built a culture of openness. Here are some examples of openness in action at Mozilla:

1- An open door office policy – all contributors are welcome to drop by Mozilla offices.

2- Transparent financials – even though Mozilla is not a public company and therefore they don’t need to publish their financials, they still do it.

3- Open meetings – many of Mozilla’s meetings are open to the public.

4- Public product road map – Mozilla’s future technology direction is open to anyone.

(from Paul Rouget’s blog post: “Mozilla Openness Facts”)

On an interview with Chris Grams, Paul clarifies two common misunderstandings regarding organisational openness:

  • Firstly, “being open is not a passive task”. It isn’t enough to open up and offer information – we must do something to help people find it.
  • Secondly, “being transparent doesn’t mean we are a democracy. We listen to everybody, but we believe that the most skilled people should make the most important decisions. And you don’t have to be an employee to be a decision maker”.

Questions on organisational openness for leaders

If you are currently heading up an organisation, or if you are in a strategic leadership position:

  • To what extent do you think there is openness and transparency in your organisation?
  • What may be getting in the way of people opening up and collaborating more internally and externally?
  • Where could your organisation start being more open, transparent and collaborative?

Related articles:

Ridiculously Transparent