Kenny Kane | Crain's Utah

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Kenny Kane

Background:  

Founded in 2017, FIRMSPACE offers luxury co-working suites for established professionals. With current locations in Austin and Denver, FIRMSPACE plans to expand to Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New York City, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C.

The Mistake:

Underestimating the consequences of real-time information sharing.

In my roles, I’ve always been an operations kind of guy with a fascination for business automation and information. Earlier in my career, I would run all of our business information through Slack (the messaging platform) so people across teams could see it.

When you have information at your fingertips, it’s easy to automate it. But I made the mistake of having information overload through Slack. This new wave of connectivity and the ability to port information quickly led to some issues.

For example, let’s say someone had tweeted that our organization was garbage because they weren’t happy with us for some reason and that tweet was shared with the company via Slack, well – you basically had the air sucked out of the room. Everyone was taken aback and it affected morale.

Or, there were times sensitive information was shared and if someone who was not necessarily supposed to see it did see it – whether it be HR information, details of a transaction or something related to salaries – it could lead to offline discussions or HR violations and could have the potential to alter the morale of the team.

Also, it could just not be appropriate or right for other people to have access to that kind of information.

In another instance, somebody thought they were talking one-on-one in a private message but were actually sharing it in a group chat. They were discussing plans to fire someone and kept going on and on, not realizing it was a public chat. This led to a lot of backpedaling and an offline meeting.

It’s too easy to digitally put your foot in your mouth.

The Lesson:

I learned the importance of slowing down and reducing the amount of information that is shared within an organization or company by sharing it only with the most relevant teams. Information needs targeted delivery, and not to be blasted out there like water out of a fire hose. As such, I created a number of private channels and took into consideration what information would be shared with which people.

This way, some of the more sensitive financial information is only shared among the executive staff. Also, for example, there might be conversations about a party going on in one city that workers in another city wouldn’t be able to attend.

Rather than share or discuss this with the whole company, I would instead create a special channel just for the people who would be able to attend the party so the others wouldn’t feel left out. It’s a matter sometimes of protecting people too, so that morale is not negatively impacted.

These days, we live in a society where messages are shared via a variety of different channels. This just doesn’t apply to companies with remote workers. Even if we’re just desks away from someone, we often rely on messages rather than pulling someone aside and talking to them.

I think this is a big issue that can affect any workplace, regardless of the proximity of the workers. People need to think about what they’re putting out there and to what audience and take a moment to reflect about how it will be perceived because there are consequences of digital information sharing. It’s too easy to digitally put your foot in your mouth.

Follow FIRMSPACE on Twitter at @FIRMSPACE.

Pictured is Kenny Kane. | Photo courtesy of FIRMSPACE.

 

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