I was reading an article in the NY Times about a father, who happens to be a businessman, whose daughter had a small business of her own. Stay with me on this. You’ll see where I’m going with it. Now the daughter had refused to practice a business principle that he had tried to get her to learn and follow. And that basic business principle is having open books. In other words, by opening her business’ financial books to her employees, they could see where spending could be cut and other measures improved to bring in more money for the business. By having open books, her employees felt like they had an invested interest in the health and stability of the company they work for. Unsurprisingly, once she adopted the open book principle, her business flourished.
Here’s one portion of the article that really struck a nerve with me.
Meghan’s story touches on a fundamental component of open-book management: By opening your books and getting your employees involved in running the business, you can leverage the intellectual capacity of your entire organization. For some reason, we have created this culture where the chief executive is supposed to be infallible, to have all of the answers and to be able to get the company out of any situation.
Now, I bring this article to the attention of AOC Watcher readers because the open-book management style described in the article shouldn’t be restricted to the private sector. I am positive that government agencies could thrive under the same principle. And I think that’s what the JC and the AOC need to understand. Opening up their books, and quite frankly opening up their doors period, is a benefit not only to the employees of the AOC or the employees of the court system. An open-book management style at the AOC is a benefit to the people of California. And if you read some of the comments posted about the article, you’ll notice I’m not the only one who thinks government could use some more open-book management.