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This limits my plans and projections, what can I do to get him to share vital information with me for the sake of the company’s progress?
Dear Caroline, I work for a fairly successful private company as an executive manager. However, with all our success, I feel the owner is pulling us back because he prefers to run the company shrouded with a lot of secrecy. He rarely discusses future plans with management and he insists only he can know the company’s financial status. This limits my plans and projections, what can I do to get him to share vital information with me for the sake of the company’s progress? Kaketo
Hello, Kaketo; this is a delicate matter, and while I appreciate your frustration, you’ll need to be patient in how you try and manage the situation. I think it’s essential that you understand that he has spent a significant amount of time and money setting up the business as the owner.
In growing the company, he and his founding team have addressed many challenges that could have negatively impacted the business. The business has now grown to the point where it can employ skilled talent and its set up systems and processes to function well, and through these structures, you’ll be able to address the frustration.
Transitioning and change are sensitive aspects for anyone, and the business owner may be struggling with “letting go” of the reigns to management. As in all companies, the disclosure of the financials is always a sensitive matter unless you’re a listed company.
In addressing your frustration, I think there must be a continuous consultation process involved where you engage him to listen to his ideas and have a platform to table your ideas. You may want to consider having a one-on-one session with him where you discuss and brainstorm his thoughts and what he wants to do.
It’s important in the conversation you ask the right questions so he can fully explain his vision. With an appreciation of his vision, you can then work with your team to think through and develop creative and innovative strategies that will result in success. By taking his idea, discussing it with your team, getting their input and contribution, you get buy-in and ownership. Make sure that you’ve conducted your research and you have the data that supports the interventions.
In addition, ensure that you’ve considered risks, costs and alternative strategies. In doing so, you’re creating a comprehensive picture for him.
In addition, the consultation process allows you to incorporate some of your ideas. This process can be long and complex and requires you to put all the pieces together methodically. Once you’ve done that and demonstrated how his vision could be achieved, you’ll have addressed your most significant barrier, his mindset.
This shift will cause a change in how he thinks, which could result in him opening up and “letting you” on some of the detail you need to do your job well. More importantly, you would have created a platform where your ideas can also be tabled in a conducive and cooperative environment.
Caroline Mboijana, Managing Director,The Leadership Team (U) [email protected]