The transparent organization

I recently took my 7-year-old daughter to a girl’s learn-to-code event, where she learned to build a video game. As we toured the offices of the tech company hosting the event, with its ping pong table, yoga studio and video game consoles, I noticed one of the values written on the wall: there are no doors here, only windows.

It was another reminder of the growing popularity of transparency in the workplace. Organizations increasingly recognize it’s ability to maximize team performance, minimize risks to a brand, engage employees and create healthy work relationships.

Many organizations are also still terrified of it.

That’s one of the reasons I like helping organizations find their transparency boundaries – and grow beyond them as they see the value. I understand the hesitation to share. People have alternatively called me the most transparent person in the world and an introvert who needs to share more. I love diving deep into conversation about things that matter, and I know the value of keeping to myself. In other  words, my sharing depends on audience, place, timing and purpose.

Contrary to what many think, being transparent doesn’t just mean sharing more or more loudly. If that were the case, the term TMI would never have been invented and data analysts wouldn’t be in such high demand. In fact, putting too much out there can also be a way for organizations (and individuals) to hide the truth. As the Economist recently noted in the article Art of the Lie: “Information glut is the new censorship.”

This blog aims to help organizations learn how to be truly transparent – to provide the relevant information to the right audiences at the best times and places and in digestible formats. It will do that by highlighting trends in transparency – between employees of all levels, with consumers and suppliers and in the societies in which organizations operate. It will also look at the ways some organizations are using transparency, and the technology that’s making it possible.

Whether or not my daughter goes on to build video games, or even join a tech company like the one she toured, doesn’t matter. What matters to me is that she learns how technology is enabling a more transparent world, what harnessing that transparency in the right ways can do and knowing the value of unplugging, disconnecting and staying quiet sometimes, so she can be transparent with herself.

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