To me, the best leaders are those that provide transparency in their decision-making process. Every CEO has to make tough calls, but I believe that good leaders influence decisions rather than dictate outcomes. After all, no one likes being told what to do.
The value of transparent decision processes
In my experience, the best way to influence outcomes as a leader is to provide a clear model for how decisions should be made. By making your thinking and decision making process transparent, you provide a framework that people can use when they have a challenging decision to make.
I’ve known the value of transparent decision making for a long time, but what I’ve always struggled with is the medium of transparency. It’s easy to make your thinking transparent with one or two direct reports. But as the team and organisation grows, it becomes harder to give everyone the same level of transparency into your thinking and decision making.
How I keep everyone aware of my decision making process
About a year ago, we started playing with some alternatives that could integrate a long form narrative with live data from Yellowfin’s internal BI system. By combining the data with the narrative I could start to step through why we were prioritising certain activities and expose this thinking to the entire organisation.
Ultimately this was the genesis for one of our biggest releases of the past few years. This early product has grown to become Stories, which we have just released as part of Yellowfin 8. Stories is an integrated way for leaders to combine long form narrative with data from their BI system, and deliver this to the entire organisation. I’m confident it will be transformational for how leaders use and communicate with BI.
For example, we’re changing the way we talk about Yellowfin – from a platform to a suite of products. To do this, we need to take our people on that journey. So I’ve been using our storytelling platform to explain why we’re doing this, what thinking went into the process, why it matters, and what the outcome is for our customers and our sales team.
Stories changed everything
This storytelling platform has been transformational in the way we communicate at Yellowfin. We don’t have to rely on people attending meetings or reading emails to get a message across. Instead, our people can access stories in their own time. So I can speak one-on-one with everyone in the organization without worrying about being filtered out. The platform also has analytics so I can see who’s read the story and I know if the message is cutting through.
Because the stories are written, it also gives me time to build the narrative and choose the tone. I can be funny in one story and serious in another – it’s a powerful way to communicate with a large organization.
The art of long-form narrative has been around since people sat around campfires telling stories. It’s something that’s innate. That’s why I believe telling a story about why you made a decision is so much more powerful than an email or an all hands. People want to feel engaged and understand the detail. Transparency is the key to giving them that, and our storytelling platform now provides the forum for leaders to do this effectively.
Find out more about the industry’s first cross-vendor storytelling platform, Stories >