How transparency empowers 3Sharp employees

It's company meeting day!

This last Wednesday I woke up and knew it was going to be one of those days – a company meeting day. On this one day of the month, Sharpies are treated to lunch and an hour-long meeting. Otherwise, it’s business as usual. As Executive Assistant, it is an all-day event. I am editing slides, coordinating catering, and trying to get the label for the Sharpie of the Month award to print correctly. As I was running around, much like a chicken sans head, I happened to walk by the office of one of our founders, John Peltonen.  He was deep in thought preparing for the meeting. He really cares about this, I thought.  How refreshing

Let's do the time warp

Later that day, after the dust had settled and everyone’s stomachs were content from copious amounts of barbeque, I decided to take John on a walk and ask him about his devotion to the company meeting and overall transparency at 3Sharp.  His answer was not what I expected.

“It wasn’t always this way,” John started in a whimsical far-away tone that is reminiscent of a flashback in a movie.  The air rippled and suddenly I was imagining a black and white version of 3Sharp in ye olden days. “When we first started 3Sharp, we were operating from a place of fear. If we told our employees everything happening in the company, was there a risk they would reveal our ‘secrets’ to our competitors?

Now, it’s the opposite. If I’m meeting with another business owner, competitor or otherwise, I’m usually talking about either the top 5% or bottom 5% of my business. I’m looking for shared experiences and the more details I can give, the better the share is that comes back to me.

More so, if everyone knows the state of the company they will make better-informed decisions. It’s just one step in our master plan of getting everyone in our company to think like an owner. the company meeting lets us dive deep into key initiatives, demo something cool someone did last month, share the internal feedback we capture using weekly anonymous polling, and more. There are other things we do, like our profit sharing program and our weekly review of our forecasted balance statement – but the company meeting lets us dive deep into key initiatives, demo something cool someone did last month, share the internal feedback we capture using weekly anonymous polling, etc.

Most of all, in these meetings I try to express how valued people are. That they are an integral part of this crazy company, and we understand the true value of their input and their ability to affect the health and wellbeing of the company (and themselves)!”

It was then that we walked by a nearby bus stop and saw Matthew Romero, one of our Sr. Technical Marketing Consultants and resident Spartan Racer. Serendipitously, Matthew stopped us and thanked John for the company meeting, and the ability to openly communicate in those meetings. Later I asked Matthew to put his thoughts on paper.

This is what he said, “I value the company meeting because of the complete transparency on all the company operations, weekly breakdowns in an all hands that go over the company goals, financial breakdowns, projects etc. It’s pretty remarkable. Most companies I have worked for have held this info behind closed doors. It makes me feel a lot more like part of the team and from day one at that.”

What will our future be?

When I asked John what he envisions for company meetings in the future, he replied, “I’d love for the meeting to have a more organic creation with topics to be determined on and presented by everyone in the company. To get there, we really do need to double down on our “evil” plans to get everyone to start thinking like an owner.  The more we open ourselves up to feedback and suggestions from the entire company, along with sharing as much as we can about the state of the company, the better we will become. This will simply be another step in that direction.”

3Sharp is growing, and it is inevitable that culture evolves when companies grow.  But when leadership’s goal is to empower its’ employees through transparency and personal ownership, evolution is nothing to be afraid of.

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2 thoughts on “How transparency empowers 3Sharp employees

  1. I wanted to come to work there by the end of the fourth paragraph! What a fine testament to your company, the leaders and the employees!

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