Trust-Building with Transparency


Earlier this year, I had the chance to listen to Stephen Covey share his insights. A colleague helped me snag a free copy of a book he and others wrote. Today, while chaperoning some teens at the library, I was able to read and finish the book, taking notes on the most memorable ideas. You may see them pop up in future blog entries.

The title of the book is Predictable Results in Unpredictable Times. It's the kind of book you can read any time because times are usually, unpredictable.  While there are a lot of fascinating ideas in this book, the section on transparency jumped out at me. The book's authors point out that "We need people with character to face reality and tell the truth about it. . .Out of this transparency came a new attitude of respect for the truth and for each other."

I'm not sure that transparency always works like that. When reading those words on a crisp page in a new book, it seems pretty easy to face reality and tell the universe the truth about itself...but it isn't. Covey et al. point to 3 trust-building behaviors that include the following:

  1. Create transparency
  2. Keep your commitments
  3. Extend trust to your team.
They go on to define transparency in this way:
Transparency is telling the truth in a way that people can verify and validate for themselves...people don't trust what they cannot see.
And then cite Anne Mulcahy (Xerox), who says something reminiscent of social media today:
"If you schmooze and spin your communications, it comes back to bite you in your ability to establish credibility with people."

Why is transparency so hard to achieve for organizations? You'd think it be easier for organizations than individuals...an external ideal to hold the org's feet to the fire, unlike the self-deception and rationalization that human beings sacrifice their personal lives on.




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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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