Open Book Test

Now that we have definitely transitioned into the Internet Age in which our information, our technology, and our ideas have become more readily available and accessible than ever. From Open Source, to Wiki Leaks and Wikipedia, to open checkbooks? Whereas a Machiavelli influenced business approach has taught business leaders to hold valuable information—especially as it pertains to finances—close to their chests so as not to tip the balance by allowing untrustworthy colleagues to abandon ship once they had received word that the company was on the verge of taking a big financial hit.  With all of the technological resources available it is becoming more and more difficult to conceal what has traditionally been understood as internal information. Just yesterday Wiki Leaks has threatened to provide the decryption for their vault of 250,000 encrypted files of incriminating documentation of world leaders after presenting the world with sensitive classified reports over the last several years of atrocious acts committed around the world by many established governments and rogue infiltrators, along with uncomfortable cases of economic tyrannizing.

With the precariousness of delicate information—safes no longer provide safety—some business strategists are suggesting business owners implement open book management which invites employees to share in the financial destiny of the company. Jack Stack of SRC Holdings and John Case of Inc. magazine first introduced this mode of thinking and operating over ten years ago as a means of inviting employees to dedicate more of their energies and their allegiances to the company, teaching them how to interpret the numbers and also how their individual work impacts those very numbers.

Only a week ago Jack Stack wrote a guest entry on the New York Times Small Business blog addressing the pros and cons of opening up the books. The post is located here and is more or less the summary of a phone conversation held with Jay Goltz who writes blog entries for the New York Times Small Business blog and has mostly proved himself as preferring to keep his books closed.

Stack’s post is quickly read, but does provide an incisive gloss on the arguments for this mode of executive operation and how they can simply and effectively be implemented for everyone’s benefit. The bottom line is that all information—both classified political information and business information, according to Stack—will see the light of day at some point or another. In order to best ensure that you’ve crossed your t’s and dotted your i’s, Stack suggests letting others confirm it.

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