Tagged: radical transparency

Thirty six


Yvonne led a discussion about radical transparency.

You’ll recall this thread from my discussion with Yvonne after ‘the Gorooz’ had left the premises.

Yvonne described radical corporate transparency as removing all barriers to the free and easy public access to corporate information, and the development of policies and processes to facilitate and protect such access.

William provided a caveat – where it is legal to do so. For example, it would be illegal to make employee records public.

There appears to be a number of drivers towards radical corporate transparency. First up the question, what have you got to hide? The answer usually conjures up the idea of competitors sneaking a peak at your new product pipeline. But if you accept that no organization can function alone in the 21st Century (see later), you have to open up in order to bring great products to market. There are already examples of so-called co-opetition where competitors cooperate, subject to avoiding activities that might constitute a cartel of course. Secondly, now that social media and related technologies allow the ‘real story’ to emerge sooner or later, why obfuscate or attempt to ‘spin’ it in the short-term? This can only damage reputation further. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

On this point, Saket reminded us of a question he’d posed a few months back: If the company is a function of the sum of its people over time, how well do they know each other? What do they know? What don’t they know?

He mooted that traditional approaches to making sure data and information were not seen by the ‘wrong eyes’ actually kept data and information away from many of the ‘right eyes’ too. The new challenge was to make the right information available to the right people at the right time in the right format, or better still, equip them with the autonomy to surface what they need when they need it.

ACTION: Yvonne to champion the transparency corner, whatever that might mean.

Twenty one (ii)

It’s sort of a modern day equivalent of measuring column inches in the press; both are flawed metrics as both grow when something goes really badly as well as when something goes really well.

Let me be totally clear, the Goorooz are not grifters. They’re not quacks. They’re exploring this new media and new technology sincerely and trying to make a living out of helping others understand and get to grips with it. But sincerity doesn’t mean effective.

On sharing my conclusions with Michelle and Yvonne after the Goorooz had guru’d their way to their next meeting, I underlined my commitment to social media. I underlined my commitment to our values. I underlined my intention to continue interweaving the undoubted potential social media represents into the very fabric of the business.

I’ve heard the opposite referred to as lipstick on a pig. Attenzi is no pig. It requires no such lipstick.

I could see Michelle wasn’t happy. With me. After all, I guess I had just shot down her initiative to invite these guys in. She left the room quietly. Yvonne was more upbeat.

“I can see where you’re coming from Eli. I’m reading a book at the moment that describes social media as bringing radical transparency on an organization.”

“Radical transparency? That’s quite a strong expression.”

“Yes” she continued, “And there’s more. If ‘perception is reality’ was the saying that characterized our approach to marketing and public relations before, we now have to consider that reality is perception.”

“Goodness.” My brain got knocked and I felt myself thinking hard. It must have been visible as Yvonne went with the silence.

I, like many others, had witnessed examples of citizens around the world using the social media and mobile phones to record and communicate the day-to-day realities they had to live with, until this had helped catalyze uprisings, which had in turn been documented post by post, tweet by tweet, photo by photo, video by video.

Authoritarian regimes could no longer project one image to the world, or maintain a façade to its people, while governing quite differently.

Hang on. What am I saying? This doesn’t just apply to authoritarian regimes, this applies to all government. And all business. All organizations.

Information has been set free.

I concluded our conversation: “It’s like a big oil gun has been taken to the machinery of the world, lubricating its workings. We’re taking out the friction in the system that for so long frustrated the spread of information and knowledge.”