Transparency is Important

August 23, 2007 at 4:20 am Leave a comment

I was talking to a client today specifically about some new competition in our community. This new business is engaging in some practices that it’s unlikely its clients are aware of. The intentions don’t seem malicious, based on what my client knew, but the potential implications should their customers become aware could be damaging to say the least.

I obviously can’t reveal the details of this particular situation, but I’ll offer this advice… be transparent. Be crystal clear with your customers, be see-through with your employees, be vitreous with your vendors and suppliers. No exceptions. No “it’ll be taken out of context” or “they just won’t understand.” Take time to explore the context and to explain.

When you reveal your company or your organization’s motives, you become accountable to the public. You must do as you say.

Transparency is self-regulating. You cannot choose practices that you cannot justify publicly. If you’re a business leader, you’re not only putting your organization’s credibility on the line, but your personal credibility.

Five tips for you:

  • Make your ethical decisions now: think through how you and your company would react under a situation likely to occur in your industry. A few minutes brainstorming will help identify potential ethical quandries.
  • Develop empathy: What would want to know if you were a customer? How would you want to find out? Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.
  • Take time to think:When faced with a difficult decision, take the time to think through what you will do and explore the potential consequences to potential actions to the best of your ability.
  • Call it what it is: stealing and lying are, by any other name, still stealing and lying. Call it what it is.
  • Every action & decision has an ethical component: Think through intended and unintended consequences.

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