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The fact that New Belgium is an ESOP company likely has a good deal to do with this. Employee ownership combined with enlightened management (and no constant pressure to make the Street's "whisper number" every quarter) can certainly help you to create and sustain virtuous circles.


ESOP companies do tend to lend themselves to a more transparent culture, but this is something that does not, and should not, need to be unique to them. While this level of transparency would be nearly impossible for a public traded company, virtually any privately held company can do this.

The real question is why they don't.

Is it a matter of not knowing? Or, is it a matter of not wanting others to know?

Those who have power are rarely willing to relinquish it, fearing the consequences of their marginalization. Cincinnatus and Washington were rare exceptions, separated by two millennia. Even worse, most senior executives are terrified by transparency when they can't explain the justice of their decisions. Those who are confident are not afraid to let the light in.

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