Transparency is always worth it.

Transparency is worth it.

Written by Richard Ollis | Ollis, Akers & Arney

Transparency is an interesting aspect of business that many use strategically. Being an employee-owned company, we used to think we were transparent by sharing financial information and communicating goals at quarterly meetings.

What we now realize is that we weren’t using transparency as an ongoing strategy.

During the COVID pandemic, we initially began working remotely. Frankly, I was not a fan of remote work, but the circumstances forced our company into this arrangement to serve our customers and keep our staff working safely.

In order to keep our staff informed we began distributing the notes from our management meetings. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Our staff began providing input and feedback based on these notes. We used this input to better serve our clients during this unusual time.

We also began using videos and virtual meetings to gather and disseminate information and objectives. These virtual meetings provided a very transparent format for our entire staff to engage with one another to solve problems and address issues. The unknown of the pandemic and using new communication tools created a ripe environment for open communication and collaboration.

Our productivity significantly improved.

We grew our company, improved client retention, and added new client relationships. Our staff was very engaged and we were using their suggestions to better serve our clients and, in turn, better serve our staff. All of this also improved our ability to hire talent and our staff was super engaged in helping us accomplish this.

It took us, especially me, a while to connect the dots. Increased transparency increased involvement which then improved our company’s performance.

As with any new strategy, new skills must be developed and reinforced.

Being more purposeful about including others in discussions and decisions takes additional time, energy, and effort. That being said, the outcome has been worth it.

We now use transparent communication in all aspects of our business. We continue to work on improving transparent (two-way) communications. The results have been both surprising and fulfilling.

Guest Writer | Richard Ollis Ollis, Akers & Arney

Richard Ollis is a fourth-generation risk and insurance advisor specializing in business risk and has been in the industry more than thirty-five years.  He serves as CEO of Ollis/Akers/Arney Insurance & Business Advisors, Springfield’s largest independent insurance agency, founded in 1885.

Richard holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Missouri State University and serves on their College of Business Advisory Board. He regularly writes for the Springfield Business Journal and has hosted the radio talk show “Insurance Talk”. A veteran of the U.S. Navy, he is currently serving his second term on Springfield City Council and also serves on the board for the Missouri Association of Insurance Agents. Richard is a past-Chairman of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and has served on boards for Commerce Bank, Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, Springfield/Branson National Airport, Hickory Hills Country Club and Safety Council of the Ozarks.