Second in a series as to why businesses fail.
Continuing yesterday’s theme using definitions, here is one from Wikipedia on Transparency in Business – Transparency, as used in science, engineering, business, the humanities and in a social context more generally, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed.
Given all of the issues over the last few years with financial firms, accounting regulations, Bernie Madoff and the like, we hear the word transparency quite a bit these days. Many businesses use transparency as a key word to secure your trust as an employee, to provide you with a sense of greater good, where they craft the illusion that they are above reproach and will treat you with the dignity and respect that you deserve.
Of course this is really nothing more than marketing spin, getting you to buy something you think you need. Only it is not a product they are trying to buy; it is your trust. So you walk into managements office and they say “We are a very transparent company” or “I am a very transparent manager and I expect complete transparency from you as well.” And because you want to believe in this world where ethics, morals, honesty, trust and integrity have gone right down the old Bemis, that it will be different for you at this employer, because deep down that is what you would like it to be. Do not fall for this jive.
All organizations have a transparency culture, that part of the culture that relates to transparency; but few have a culture of transparency, i.e., a culture of being aware of transparency and incorporating it routinely into how things are done.
So we are going to change the definition of business transparency today – the new definition is that business transparency occurs only when it is convenient for the business, regardless of what is said or stated on one’s website. Think about it. Why does every PowerPoint presentation come with a confidentiality clause even when it is just an internal presentation and even after you have signed a confidentiality clause anyway upon gaining your employment? Or why is there so much legal mumbo jumbo to govern your every phone, e-mail or chat? The reason is so an employer can use this information anyway they want to fit their needs. Don’t ever forget this.
If you are a business owner, take a minute to reflect on how you are running your business. Are you truly being transparent and engaging your employees regularly with the business challenges and ideas necessary to grow and create an environment of trust, passion and success? Or are you a business leader that manipulates their employees, engaging them only when you deem necessary or when it fits your definition of transparency?
Take a look in the mirror. Who are you?