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The Benefits of Transparency in the Workplace

This is a repost from Michael Hyatt's blog (entitled: Living in a Transparent World). I found his main points about how you can survive in today's extremely transparent world to be incredible compelling. In fact, we already use a lot of these principles in training missionaries at AIM (albeit, with some different applications).

Here they are:

  1. Commit to total transparency. Because of technology, you don’t really have a choice. You might as well embrace it now; it’s a much easier way to live. You will never have to worry that someone is going to discover something about you that you don’t first reveal.
  2. Be the first to “air dirty laundry.” If you break the news, you control the story. For example, one of my authors was recently arrested. He made an honest mistake, and it could have happened to anyone. But he immediately blogged about it, and took the wind out of the media’s sails. No one could accuse him of covering it up, and the story quickly died.
  3. Understate the facts. Get in the habit of “rounding down.” Don’t inflate the numbers. If you say that you have 10,000 unique visitors a month, and the person double-checking your claim discovers that you actually have 10,970, your credibility goes up. The opposite is also true.
  4. Manage others’ expectations. The bigger the gap between what people expect and what they get, the bigger the WOW they experience. By the way, this is the dirty little secret of big royalty advances. I have seen many, many best-selling books be perceived by publishers as a failure simply because they paid the author more than the book recouped.

Telling the truth will get you pretty far, it seems. Being transparent, of course, will get you even further. It's more than just being honest. It's offering confidential information before it's solicited. It's going above and beyond what is required of you to foster intimacy and trust.

In the workplace, being transparent can even make up for an intial lack of competency. For example, if you plainly tell your boss or colleague, "I honestly don't know how to do that; can you give me more information?" that'll put you in a much better place than just pretending you know how to do what is being asked of you (and then failing in the process — that's overpromising and underdelivering).

What are some other benefits of being transparent in work, ministry, and life in general?