The Chilean Miners and Open Book Management

Friday, November 12th, 2010

The Chilean Miners and Open Book Management

The miners were trapped for six weeks before rescuers were able to punch the first hole through. This allowed people on the surface to lower food as well as messages from family and friends. Well-meaning psychologists thought that they should spare the miners any bad news – sick children, marital problems, and so forth. The miners balked; they wanted their news unfiltered.

When I read that story (International Herald Tribune 10/26/10), I thought about well-meaning leaders in organizations who try to spare lower-level managers and employees bad news. But then these senior leaders seem surprised when people fail to see the urgency for change when they announce a major new initiative.

Those who practice Open Book Management find that people want to know what’s going on and want to know that they too can have an impact on the success of their organizations. In those organizations, major changes tend to go a lot more smoothly. By the way, Inc. Magazine did a study of 500 top start-up ventures, and 40 percent of those organizations used some form of Open Book Management. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.