Think about the huge number of problems that would go away if everyone was transparent and focused about who they were and what they’re doing.
I’m sure there are people out there that will say this is a naive view, but I believe that transparency can be a huge driver for success. Yes there are bad people out there that will attempt to take advantage of you, but building your processes and communications around the bad apples instead of the rest of the world doesn’t make any sense.
What do I mean by transparency?
Let people know who you are. Don’t hide behind a screen name, a business name or just being an anonymous presence. (That’s not to say that you can’t be creative with screen names or business names, just make sure people can learn more about you somewhere else).
Transparency is about having an opinion and sharing it openly (this is an area I need to work on – I’m good with sharing the opinion, I just don’t always have a strong feeling on things).
Transparency is about having a sense of humor and / or a personality that can shine through in your stuff. This can be a challenge in the heyday of Political Correctness and I’m not advocating that you do anything unprofessional, but there’s a lot of leeway between dry, boring and corporate and crossing the line.
How can transparency help you for Marketing?
I’m a big fan of Naomi Dunford – author of Itty Biz, a blog on Home Business Ideas and I’m becoming a fan of a Havi Brooks – author of the Fluent Self.
Although the writing is fantastic and they both have great ideas, what really makes both of these sites (and women) shine is that they absolutely embrace being themselves, enjoying what they do and putting it out there.
In other words, the reason they are getting a lot of well deserved attention is because they’re smart, funny and transparent. They are honest (perhaps to a fault) and not afraid to let the language fly.
Most of us aren’t that interesting (or funny unfortunately), but that doesn’t mean you can’t put your own personality out there.
There will be people that don’t like you.
There will also be people that do like you.
But that’s a lot better than people that don’t care at all.
How can transparency help you for Sales?
I’m convinced that Brute Force marketing and sales are no longer productive ways to grow your business.
People don’t want to be cold called. They don’t need more long copy sales letter (online or in the mail box). People want solutions to their problems and they want to buy them on their own schedule from people that they Know, Like and Trust!
If you’re transparent, I can easily determine if I Know, Like and Trust you. If I don’t, I won’t buy from you. If I do and if you have a good product that solves my problem, not only will I buy, but I will likely become an advocate for you and extol your virtues to the world.
If you’re not transparent?
I can’t get to know you – I don’t know if I like you and I’m fairly sure that I don’t trust you.
No sale! Even if you send me an email, a direct mail, call me and accost me at my house – I’m still not going to buy anything (and I’ll start warning everyone I know to stay away from you).
How can transparency help you for Leadership?
There’s a reason why Dilbert and The Office are popular – for a lot of cubical dwellers they do a pretty good job of describing what life is like on the inside of the corporate world.
If you’ve ever worked for a manager that wasn’t transparent, it can be a terribly frustrating experience. They pass along inexplicable directions and tasks using the company line to explain what’s going on, only to reverse course a couple of weeks later using the same justifications!
As a transparent leader, people know what you’re doing, why you’re doing and how it impacts them. The extreme business example of this is using Open Book Management to run the company, effectively letting all of the employees in on what’s going on with the bottom line.
It’s been my experience that leading people that know what’s going on is a lot more effective than the alternative.
Do you have any other good example of being transparent or where transparency would make things better?
Share them here – I’d love to hear other opinions on this.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach