Leaders: how committed are you to actual, bona fide transparency? Tell me your thoughts on the following challenge, and I’ll tell you how sincere you are to open leadership, authenticity, transparency, or whatever you want to call it.
- Option A: The next time you gather your reports for a meeting to discuss their staff, simulcast it live to the whole organization. It’s 2012. Stream it.
- Option B: Is that live thing too much for you? Fine. Film it, and post the video after the fact. That should buy you the opportunity to edit out anything you don’t want to share. Chicken.
You won’t do it. Even with a delay in option B, and the chance to cut anything scary, this is still too much for you. And if that’s the case, you don’t believe in transparency. So stop paying lip service to it. You remain committed to secrecy, and the control of information at the top of the organization, because after all (as any good 20th-Century leader knows), information is power, and whoever holds that information wins.
- What about HR? These meetings bring up issues about some staffers that can’t be aired openly, for legal reasons!
Interesting. You can share dirt on employees among a dozen or two or three dozen or more managers and support staff, and that’s not legally iffy. Uh… right.
- What about our competition? These videos could leak, and if they do, the bad guys will know what we’re up to!
Sure. It’s possible. So sequester the part that involves intellectual property, financial strength, and strategy. My guess is, most of your meetings are more banal than those three issues, and are fine to share with anyone.
It’s fine if you don’t do this. Maybe it just isn’t how your culture operates. But if that’s the case, please, stop lying about it – to your staff, and to yourself. If you don’t do transparency, then clearly you don’t believe in transparency.
As I research my next book, Catalyst, I’m learning all sorts of fascinating things about how social technology is changing the way business is led, and more importantly how it is going to change the way business will be led.
The company of the future will be open because social technology will force it to be.
My challenge? I recommend you give it some serious thought. Because if this isn’t the way you do business, it is the way your successor will.
So did I write this post for you? Or for the leader who will have your job in a few years? That’s entirely up to you.
Graphic by Shawn Murphy