How Important Is Transparency?


Webster’s Definition of Transparency; “Implies Openness, Communication & Accountability”

In many corporations you’ll find the “Executive Team” cloaked in secrecy, making decisions that affect their employees all the way down the organizational chart often changing the relationship between the company & their customers. The sub text of this type of secret organization implies that they don’t trust their “valued” employees, nor do they care for their input & if they complain enough the company finds a way to let them go & finds someone else to fill that space & the behavior goes on unchecked, but who cares because profits are up, so why change?

Most of their customers are treated the same way. Other than the revenue that they generate the company looks at them as a necessary evil, invests minimally in support & knows that they can find more customers.

All of these decisions are made behind closed doors & in hushed tones & it’s this sort of company that creates no employee or customer loyalty. It’s just a job or in the case of the customer it’s just a vendor & you won’t find any Raving Fans in either group.

We have all probably worked in this atmosphere, I know I have & even though I had great ideas most fell on deaf ears. Eventually that dream opportunity becomes the dreaded work place that I have to show up to so that I can get a paycheck. In time creativity is gone from my spirit, I’m taking sick days off; I’m getting in late, leaving early. There is an astronomical cost that goes along with this type of operation.

Now flip the page & look at a company that is doing it’s best to become transparent. I understand that complete transparency is impossible, so I’m not being naïve about my definition of transparency.

Let’s talk about the new Sage. For those who have been living in Mukluk, Alaska or wandering the Sahara Desert for the past year, News Flash! We have new faces & new attitudes at Sage. Our CEO is making changes along with her management team that they believe will help the partners & customers, not hinder us. Were some of the decisions that were made last year popular? No, but I believe that they were made because they had to be & someone has to make them.

They’re open to hear what we have to say & in most cases people just want someone to listen to them. In the past 6 months I’ve seen more evidence of a transparent society than ever. We’ve been offered free training classes, Workshops, Road Shows, etc. There are a lot of Sage employees crossing the skies everyday to bring that new message to us & if you’re not taking advantage of them it’s your own fault.

One of the bright spots of this new transparency is that it looks like its being backed up with action. Understand that all these actions by Sage are not going to make everyone happy, but if you have a complaint take it to the right people & think about a solution that you think might work. That opens up the communication lines, it makes people feel valuable, & they know they’re being listened to, & you can’t put a price tag on that.

Creating a work culture that trusts its employees doesn’t happen by accident. It takes work. It also takes dedicated and passionate people who not only trust their employee but are “Part Of The Solution.”

When I was managing sales persons and support people I encouraged them to bring their concerns to me. But if they were in my office just to complain they had to bring a solution with them. It’s a small paradigm shift but if everyone’s thought pattern is centered on the solution rather than the problem the culture will change into a more positive atmosphere. It has to.

For a great book on these topics read Paul Spiegelman’s “Why Is Everyone Smilng? The Secret Behind Passion, Productivity & Profit”