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Business Transparency -- Where's the Line?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by bonnie, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I see more and more posts that talk about Tesla's transparency. Sometimes it's a positive remark, sometimes it is more of a demand to know more.

    We talk about the need for transparency in my office, too. It's a way to build trust, but it's also an open door to more and more demands. We share all the financials, trusting employees not to share publicly ... but then someone asks to know who is getting raises and how much (uhh, no). When told no, the response is, 'but I thought you were going to be transparent'. So there's a line.

    I know a lot of you are in the business world. How much transparency do you expect at work? How much do you share? Is there a line that shouldn't be crossed? Where should that line be for Tesla?
     
  2. Discoducky

    Discoducky Active Member

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    I feel like TM already lets "us" (people who are not employed by TM) get involved quite a bit. I've toured every station and seen every robot on the Model S assembly line working and I know, because GB says so, TM is listening and taking action. How cool is that?

    I don't need anymore, I just want more, as it's addicting to be a part of the EV revolution.

    To answer your questions in a more straightforward way; most companies disclose just short of "enough" and the minimum allowed by law. I believe that some companies do a good job at "exposing" (read: planned leaks) at the right time and place, but this still leads to a sense of "disconnectedness" that bleeds into customer loyalty issues. My company line....I feel that it's necessary for the company to understand their business and place in world well enough to do what is right for the shareholders. But my gut guides me to do what is right for the customers and the shareholders will follow. It's a risky path to walk but has lead me to some beautiful vistas.

    For TM... It's nice to see more openness in certain critical areas of "need" that are open to the general public. For instance: Participating on these forums has allowed me to feel extremely confident in investing into TSLA and I knew the car would be amazing from an engineering standpoint due to the factory tours and one on one conversations with employees at the factory. That is really when I plunked down some TSLA cash and drank the Kool-Aid.
     
  3. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    If it helps me as a consumer, I'm for it. For example, being open with when various options are or aren't available at certain times. Mostly I can't think of an area where I'm unhappy on that count. I can quibble with some pricing/package choices, but that's different than not being transparent.

    If it's gossip (like who is getting a raise or why some guy got fired), then no, that's clearly not something that should be transparent. That's private and internal to the company.
     
  4. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    As a company always comprises a bunch of people, the line for me is separating information on the company from information on the individuals (e.g. salary, rise, work assessment, jobs offered/declined). The exception being these who have an exposed position (CEO, senior management, that sort). They must live with a lot of focus that can be PITA sometimes.
     
  5. Steph

    Steph Member

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    Transparency is always in conflict with protecting important secrets from the outside world. It's a balancing act.
     
  6. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

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    Turn the question around: what shouldn't be revealed? And why?

    Salaries are one area where most say it shouldn't be shared. Why not? Many governmental organizations have all their salary and benefit information available to anybody. You can know exactly how much the local sheriff makes per hour then estimate yearly based on overtime, etc. Is there some problem knowing that you are getting paid more or less than subordinates? Aren't salary surveys fairly common and many HR departments subscribe to such things?

    Sharing the financials is interesting, but could share the entire balance sheet. What if you crowdsourced (via your trusted employees) cost saving measures? I know local PTAs know are trying to come up with solutions to budget shortfalls for local schools and I've seen some rather innovative ways they handle things -- tough decisions, everything on the table, those who want to contribute can do so.

    I think the main reason things like financials are kept relatively secret is because of stock market speculation -- if you could view the entire balance sheet plus projections for every company you are considering, would market speculation disappear? Does it then become a matter of modeling roughly as complex as hurricane predictions or it is easier than that?

    Developing new lines of product, anything still pre-patent, contract negotiations with suppliers, renters, etc., are all things that contribute up and down the line with the overall balance sheet. These are things where the details maybe shouldn't be shared publicly, but maybe within the company or division?

    Who your biggest customers are and what their pet peeves and pleases are, these are things that maybe should be shared widely (CRM does a lot of that).

    Re: Tesla -- it would be nice to know what they are working on for the Model S. Full stop. We might not be able to change it, but we'd be able to make better decisions regarding our own purchases and plans. Ask your customers and prospects for a priority list. I'm not asking for info re: future designs, because one reason to withhold information is prospects holding off on a current purchase to buy future version with feature X instead.

    Here's a sample off the top of my head of items that I think need to be better communicated, limited to items that make a difference of a sale or not to some folks (these mostly don't matter to me frankly):

    Center console -- we've seen Alpha, Beta, and variations in between. Brief reviews have mentioned the delivered design being unusually sparse.
    What are the design constraints? What are the current solutions? (Design drawings are ok) How are those solutions expected to be delivered to already shipped vehicles?

    Charging Adapters -- UMC comes with what? What are the plans for adapters already deployed and ones still in standards committees? A subsection of this would be the technical challenges relating to supercharger access for 40 and 60 Kwh packs.

    Right now I can't think of any other big items. There are a bunch of little things, but I doubt somebody is going to purchase or not purchase based on a little item and I'm limiting myself to just items in the current cars.
     
  7. Steph

    Steph Member

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    I agree mostly to what Jason S said but...

    Tesla probably (surely) has a marketing strategy. I don't know what it is yet but we can see some glimpse of it here and there. IMHO they are doing the Apple play. Build hype slowly but surely, then, launch with a bang.

    You can't do that while being transparent in my opinion.
     
  8. Lloyd

    Lloyd Active Member

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    Movie Quote: "If you build it, They will come"
     
  9. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

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    Field of Dreams
     
  10. Steph

    Steph Member

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    Hey! That's my line!
     
  11. raymond

    raymond Member

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    I usually share what I judge others can handle. If senior personnel would ask me what I make a year I wouldn't mind telling them, but that means I need to tell them the whole story, including the years I got paid less than minimum wage, including the benefits I don't get (and have to pay for myself), etc.

    As a company I would prefer to be 100% transparent, but with competition just around the corner I simply can't. And even then the answer to a simple question like "how much did you make on project X" should also cover how much we spent getting project X and losing project Y.

    As Jack said it: "You want the truth? ..."

    I think Tesla is doing just fine. And marketing spin or otherwise, I get the idea they're ahead of the competition when it comes to being transparent.
     
  12. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Because companies pay employees as little as they can get away with, so people doing the same job (often in the same office and department) have large pay differences. Management does not want the employees to see or discuss the companies "fairness".
     

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