In January, the open organization community set its intentions for the year ahead—and offered some valuable advice for anyone seeking to build more collaborative, inclusive, and engaged workplaces.

Here are four important pointers.

1. Be transparent

No matter your goals for the year, share them. That's the best way to make sure everyone around you knows what you're striving toward—and what they can do to help.

Writer Angela Robertson took that advice seriously last month, compiling her list of 19 open leadership goals for 2019 and posting them publicly. On her list? "Delegate transparently," "Plan work in two-week sprints," and "Hold weekly one-on-one and weekly team meetings."

"I want to be more transparent with goals, more constructive with feedback, and more supportive of others this year," she writes. "Periodically throughout the year, I'll share my progress toward these items."

We're rooting for her.

2. Seek allies

Simply choosing to "become more open" won't be enough to alter your team's or organization's culture. You'll eventually need to find open-focused allies to help you spur change and lend your ideas some traction.

"Not everyone 'defaults to open,'" writes contributor and Red Hat associate Jason Hibbets.

"Demonstrating how it's possible is a humbling and instructive challenge." And it's a challenge he's committed to tackling this year. Jason shares his advice for helping others understand the powerful ways that working according to open principles can create more dynamic and change-ready environments.

"There is a huge opportunity for today's leaders to open their thinking and understand that open organizations are the future," he says. "This is why I'm trying to decode and translate openness to as many people as I can."

3. Learn from your failures

Keeping resolutions is difficult. Keeping resolutions that involve others is even more difficult. But amid setbacks this year, always seek the lessons that can help you regain your momentum and move forward once again.

That's what Jono Bacon has done. In the January episode of his Open Organization video series, Jono outlines 10 of the most common mistakes he sees leaders make when trying to engage with communities both inside and outside their organizations.

"Community management is a complex cocktail of disciplines—technology, communication, project management, and more," Jono says. "With so many variables in the mix, there are always risks of bumps."

Jono explains the perils of "building one-sided value," "hiring the wrong kinds of roles," "siloing your community under a single team," and more.

4. Engage more and dictate less

Why is the most simple, straightforward advice always the most difficult to put into practice?

It's the case with both dieting and leadership, Red Hat president and CEO Jim Whitehurst wrote in January.

"For every diet book on shelves right now, there's a book about organizational innovation and leadership change sitting just one aisle over," he says. "Those books promise to reveal hidden keys to organizational agility and associate engagement. In the end, however, their messages are also reducible to a fairly predictable formula: Engage more, dictate less."

It's advice that's deceptive in its simplicity—because it's going to involve some growing pains.

"Organizational culture change almost always necessitates short-term discomfort in the service of long-term gain," Jim says.

Here's to more long-term gains—more transparent workplaces, more instructive failures, and more open leaders—in 2019.

 

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