Jack Dorsey: Be Totally Transparent With Employees
BY Laura Montini
CEO of Square Jack Dorsey spoke recently about his company's "responsible transparency" policy.
Does everyone at your company know exactly what goes down in every meeting--whether or not they are actually in the room? CEO of Square Jack Dorsey says your answer should be yes.
Dorsey spoke Tuesday at Gigaom’s annual Roadmap conference in San Francisco, which had more than 900 attendees. During his session Dorsey, who also co-founded Twitter, discussed Square’s “responsible transparency” policy.
Square, which launched in 2009, is a mobile payment system and now employs more than 600 people internationally. For those 600 employees, Dorsey has pledged to keep them up to speed on the company’s goings-on at all times.
“Someone is required in [a] meeting to take notes. And they send that to an alias called email@example.com,” Dorsey said. Pretty simple, right?
But what are the benefits to having everyone know, well, everything?
It puts employees’ minds back on their work. Dorsey said that as the company continues to grow, it’s harder to fit everyone in a conference room, and as a result, not everyone gets invited.
Those left out can get worked up. It’s an unnecessary distraction that takes employees’ minds off of what they should be doing. More often than not, when workers read what went on at the meeting, they realize they didn’t need to be there anyway, and they can get back to work.
It holds everyone responsible for generating new ideas. Square recently had a board meeting, and before it took place, a 250-page summary was sent out to each company employee. Dorsey said he wanted everyone to bring his or her own interpretation to the document because those perspectives might just inspire the company’s next big idea.
“And if we constantly do that, we can build a company that regenerates. It’s not dependent on any one person at the company. It can actually outlive all of us who are currently in the company because it’s always looking for that next thing,” Dorsey said.
And, frankly, it's too difficult to keep secrets, anyway. Dorsey said that he started the policy, in a way, to benefit himself since it’s too difficult to keep secrets. He said eventually, people will figure out what you're trying to keep from them. It's better to just put that information out there.
LAURA MONTINI is a reporter at Inc. She previously covered health care technology for Health 2.0 News and has served as an associate editor at The Health Care Blog. She lives in San Francisco. @lmmontini