The Communicator’s Role in Open-Book Management: Circle of Fellows #61

As the world navigates recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, communicators are looking for ways to “bounce forward,” finding ways for organizations to behave. Although open-book management is not a new concept, many professionals are giving it more thought than before.

In his book, “The Great Game of Business,” Jack Stack introduced the business world to open-book management. The Great Game of Business website points out, “Open-book management at its most effective far outperforms a definition as simple as ‘sharing financial information with employees.’ Open-book isn’t just about opening your financials to your company — it’s about responsibility, ownership, results and growth. All of these things can come together to drive the needle forward in your organization. With proper training and knowledge, all levels of your business start to act and engage just like the owner or leadership.”

Clearly, communication is a vital dimension of open-book management. Episode 61 of “Circle of Fellows” featured four IABC Fellows looking at the communicator’s role, including introducing the concept to leadership. Panelists included moderator/Fellow Brad Whitworth and IABC Fellows Jim Shaffer, Tosh Hattori and Amanda Hamilton-Attwell. Of special note, Jim has worked closely with Jack Stack, founder of open-book management and CEO of SRC Holdings. He escorts clients to SRC Holdings so they can see first-hand how to implement open-book management.

Watch the full episode here:

After over 20 years of leading in-house communication functions within a variety of organizations and industries, Todd “Tosh” Hattori, ABC, IABC Fellow, was drawn to the consulting world by PeopleFirm’s core business philosophy: your people = your success. He leads PeopleFirm’s organization design community of practice, engaging and collaborating with cross-functional teams to address business challenges by designing solutions with their people in mind. Outside of his client work, he serves on the volunteer board of directors for the Technology Access Foundation, a national model/leader in providing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to students of color; and improving teacher diversity and retention of teachers of color in Washington. He currently serves as the IABC Ethics Committee vice chair.

Dr. Amanda Hamilton-Attwell is accredited by both IABC and PRSA. She is managing director of Business DNA, based in South Africa, which provides strategic research and consulting, including communication audits, customer service and women’s leadership topics. She is licensed in Adobe Connect and WebEx, using these to conduct virtual professional learning and education sessions and other focused research and training in communication skills. Her career has also included a 15-year stint as a research manager for the National Productivity Institute.

Jim Shaffer is a business adviser, leadership coach, author and speaker. As leader of the Jim Shaffer Group, he helps organizations accelerate results through superior strategy execution. The Jim Shaffer Group creates hard business results by translating the business strategy to the people who need to implement it, aligning systems, processes and culture to make the gains sustainable. The firm has improved quality, service, sales, safety, turnover, productivity, speed and costs with some returns exceeding more than 1,600%. He designed and produced the IABC Academy courses “Managing Communication to Drive Results and Value” and “How to Add Value as a Strategic Adviser.” Some of his clients have included: Hallmark, ConAgra Foods, FedEx, IBM, Marriott, Mayo Clinic, Verizon, Owens Corning, Pfizer and Toyota.

Brad Whitworth is a veteran communicator and communication coach at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Brad was most recently a communication manager at Hitachi Vantara. Before that, he was an executive communication manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and senior communication manager at Cisco Systems. Before Cisco, Brad led communication programs at HP, PeopleSoft and AAA. He earned undergraduate degrees in both journalism and speech at the University of Missouri and an MBA at Santa Clara University. A former broadcaster, Brad has made over 300 presentations to executives, communicators and university classes around the world. Brad has a long history with IABC, including serving as chairman of the international board and president of two local chapters. He is one of the authors of The IABC Handbook of Organizational Communication.

Shel Holtz

Shel Holtz, IABC Fellow, ABC, is director of internal communications at Webcor, a commercial general contractor headquartered in San Francisco. Before joining Webcor, Shel spent 21 years as principal of Holtz Communication + Technology. In addition to integrating technology into communications strategies, his expertise includes strategic communications planning, change management, organizational culture, business initiatives and communications research.

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