Why Leadership Transparency?

I have been wondering lately how important it is for companies, non-profits, and the government agencies that I deal with to be transparent in their dealings with their consumers, investors, and the public.

This Got Me Thinking

I volunteered with a great nonprofit organization that did great work for over three years.  This group helps people in financially difficult situations get into safe, affordable, and decent housing where they can have the confidence of knowing it’s as permanent as they need it to be.  It’s amazing how providing stability in someone’s life can turn their whole world upside down yet right side up.

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Like many nonprofits (and commercial ventures), this group has been struggling to raise funds.

As a volunteer, I was always surprised to learn that they struggled for donations because I knew their programming was so strong.

As a volunteer, I was always surprised to run into people who had grave misconceptions about the program and its benefits.

As a volunteer however, I could never find out exactly how the program was funded.  No one could or would answer me directly about where the money went and how much was actually needed.

The goals were not clear.

I found it difficult to help them, often guessing at what they might need.

My fellow volunteers shared the same concern with me.  We’d guess as best we knew and do the best we could.

I would find in conversation with potential donors that they also had the same questions as I did but with many misconceptions about the program as well.

What if this were a commercial venture?

What would you do if this was your commercial venture?

The same rules apply don’t they?  Frankly, I can hear the gears over-heating in your head:

  • Communicate a clear message to the team on what needs to be accomplished!
  • Get everyone unified around a real and tangible long term goal.

What else would you add to this list?

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Jennifer Werth runs a lean process development & training organization.
She can be at jennifer@werthexpertise.com and through her blog.

Image Source: lifestylesunlimited.com, cbruen.com, therockstaragent.com

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One Response

  1. Hi,
    The word transparent is somewhat challenging for organizations. It is difficult to share everything as things are constantly changing and the amount of time it takes to communicate is significant. Depending on the type of organization it is critical to be transparent to various groups about particular topics that are relevant to their role and their work. Great leaders give people all the information, tools and resources they need to do their work and paint a solid vision of where the organization is headed. Leaders need to listen carefully and provide individuals and teams what they need to be successful. So, I would say “appropriate transparency” would be a good norm to aim for.

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