I first heard the name Heather Gold in March of 2003, when I attended SXSW. Through her company, Subvert, Gold stresses the importance of bringing socially open technologies such as wikis and blogs — as well as good, old fashioned face to face meetings — into the arena of personnel management.
Gold recently spoke to Brian Zilar for Webmonkey.
Q. How do you think employers can encourage their employees to create a culture of honesty and directness in their work environments?
A. It is open source software and its social media descendants such as wikis and blogs that are making some businesses ready to consider openness. These tools are a great start, but it’s the way you use them that matters. If employers want to encourage a culture of honesty and caring in their work environment, the most important thing for employers to do is to begin with themselves.
To be ridiculously simplistic about it: Businessperson, heal thyself. Have regular meetings with everyone who works for you in which you listen and respond, and then show them afterwards, with your actions, that you really heard what people said. Follow up on the things you said you’d follow up on. This involves learning how to listen without reacting. Don’t insist on people faking passion and caring around your business. Be honest about what you care about and organize your business around that.
In other words, the more real you are, the more righteous your results will be.