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How can I improve communication and transparency?

As organizations scale rapidly, communication and transparency often become unintended casualties. Silos form, messages get diluted, issues get buried. But maintaining open and effective communication during growth is foundational for success.

In his book The Advantage, acclaimed author Patrick Lencioni argues that a fractured leadership team is one of the greatest liabilities an organization can have. Lacking cohesion and trust at the top infects the entire organization. As Harvard Business Review has reported, employees are far more likely to trust leaders who demonstrate transparency, engage in candid two-way dialogue, and welcome critical feedback.

In my coaching, I've seen firsthand how important communication and transparency become during scaling. One tech startup I advised was doubling in size annually across global offices. But as headcount multiplied, their once open culture eroded. Leaders made key decisions in a black box. Staff felt disconnected from the mission. Trust steadily declined and turnover spiked.

Turning it around required going back to basics: dedicating time for 1-on-1 conversations, simplifying critical messages for broader reach, publicly recognizing achievements, and over-communicating strategy. We instituted asynchronous video updates directly from the CEO to bring transparency to company-wide issues. Department meetings were structured to encourage candid group dialogue. Surveys and open forums provided safe spaces for feedback.

It took concerted effort, but the cultural shift was profound. Communication flourished bottom-up, top-down, and across the organization. With transparency, trust was rebuilt.

The same principles apply for any scaling organization. Here are some key strategies leaders can employ:

  • Constantly reinforce company vision and values — ensure everyone understands your purpose and where you're headed.
  • Default to over-communicating context on plans and decisions — when unsure, share more details not less.
  • Encourage candid feedback at all levels — create psychologically safe spaces for people to air concerns.
  • Address issues quickly with care — when communication breaks down, respond rapidly and compassionately.
  • Celebrate wins cross-functionally — publicly recognize achievements to unite people.
  • Connect 1-on-1 across the organization — make time for genuine conversations beyond your immediate team.

With focus and intention, a culture of transparency and communication can thrive even through tremendous growth. Let's connect to discuss strategies for scaling your team's alignment and engagement through trusted leadership. 

Download the CEO Scaling Assessment PDF

The Scaling Up CEO/Founder assessment helps you better understand how prepared you are to scale relative to your peers. If you like the sample, please reach out and I'll give you a complimentary report using data from you and your team. *No registration required. 

Does your team have what it takes to scale effectively?

Step 1 of 11 - Habit 1

The executive team is healthy and aligned.