As one example, employees are encouraged to express their views via a company-wide email list. The opinions on that list drive the culture of the company, yet previous finance teams had failed to recognize the value of those opinions, that platform for sharing ideas, and the approach to garnering buy-in. As a result, there was a significant disconnect, and decisions were made without the inclusion of the finance team. In order to regain credibility, the finance team had to learn how to work within the existing Red Hat culture. To do this, the finance team refocused their energy on understanding and applying the four principles of culture that highlight why people work at Red Hat:
Freedom means having the ability to explore new ways of identifying and creating opportunities for value. Now, the finance team leverages the power of the company-wide email list to harvest the best ideas, wherever they are in the company. By working within the existing knowledge-sharing ecosystem, finance can help guide critical conversations.
Courage uses the company’s open culture to empower people to challenge ideas internally. Even if some people disagree with the final outcome, the organization is more likely to commit fully to an idea when disagreements have been heard and the idea has been broadly discussed.
Commitment stems directly from courage and helps the company scale innovations quickly by working from an ‘all hands on deck’ mentality. Finance works with each part of the organization and is involved in the discussion of ideas and business decisions. As a result, they bring that same level of involvement into the implementation of their own projects by focusing on cross-functional collaboration.
Accountability reminds everyone of what’s at stake. Red Hat must remain accountable to shareholders, customers, and the ecosystem of vendors to be successful. Open architectures rely on robust self-governance, and an open corporate architecture is no exception.
By leveraging the power of this framework, the finance team has been able to change how it is viewed within the organization. Instead of being seen as the people who say no, finance is now viewed as a leader of a growth agenda that has helped Red Hat scale. The finance team is able to raise issues and nurture new areas of growth while being viewed as a partner and not an adversary.
For Nash, working within the existing ecosystem, rather than against it, ensures that the company’s growth plans remain on track and that business decisions are made with the right people involved. The finance organization at Red Hat has learned that lesson and has gained a positive reputation for cross-functional collaboration within the company. This has helped to improve alignment within the organization and encourage other teams to come together for a more impactful generation of value for Red Hat.