The other day on CNN I came across the "Truth-o-Meter" which is actually part of the St. Petersburg Times. There are sub-sections for a "Flip-o-Meter" and "Chain Mail Truth" and even an "Obameter" that tracks all 510 promises President Obama made while campaigning. No this isn't some right wing conspiracy; on the home page there's an analysis disputing one passionate assertion by the right.
Before you get your hackles in a tizzy, my point isn't the political side of the Truth-o-Meter; in fact I'm going to purposely stay away from that. But I am intrigued by the use of technology to track commitments and promises at this level of searchable detail, and available to the general public.
Now take a look at your organization. There are probably hundreds of projects in the works, visions, goals, missions, and somewhere between zero and a bazillion metrics. When your chief says "we're going to invest in becoming the best in the world in x technology" what do you do? Move forward and then wake up a year later trying to remember what was said? Do you even know what the key metrics are? The key goals? Your organization's vision?
More enlightened organizations have gone a bit further, with wall charts showing metrics, articles in the company newsletter, and perhaps even project review boards. If they're lucky, some supervisors might know what certain key metrics were during the previous month, or at least they could find the nearest wall chart to answer the question.
If there are some technology geeks on the bus, then you might have a dashboard. A home page that shows key metrics and projects. That comes pretty close to a Truth-o-Meter.
But when do you give full information to the entire company, holding the leadership staff fully accountable? When is a scorecard kept and the shop floor folks get to determine the compensation, and perhaps even employment status, of their leader? Yes, we often hear that "a business is not a democracy." Could it be? Or are we just scared of accountability?