the KOAN method

Reading List

080 – Ryan W. Buell. Operational Transparency

Buell, Ryan W. “Operational Transparency: Make Your Processes Visible to
Customers and Your Customers Visible to Employees.” Harvard Business Review
(March-April, 2019).

Conventional wisdom holds that the more contact an operation has with its customers, the less efficiently it will run. But when customers are partitioned away from the operation, they are less likely to fully understand and appreciate the work going on behind the scenes, causing them to place a lower value on the product or service being offered.

To address this problem, managers should experiment with operational transparency—the deliberate design of windows into and out of the organization’s operations to help customers understand and appreciate the value being added.

Witnessing the hidden work performed on their behalf makes customers more satisfied, more willing to pay, and more loyal. It can also make employees more satisfied by demonstrating to them that they are serving their customers well. However, managers should be aware of certain conditions in which transparency can backfire.