Creating Transparency

Creating transparency is gaining recognition as a critical behavior in high-trust companies. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, the – spirit of transparency – is the first key to restoring public trust.

Is there a business consequence to a lack of transparency? I bet you can think of several examples but here’s a good one:

Eckhard Pfeiffer, the former CEO of Compaq, had two different types of executives on his team. The first was a group of executives whose instinct for self-preservation biased them to consistently reinforce his vision (whether they believed in it or not).  The second was a group of astute observers willing to speak truth to power.  As you might have guessed, Eckhard preferred the first group because they boosted his self-esteem.

There were many on his staff that realized that both Gateway and Dell were dominating Compaq in the marketplace through the use of innovative manufacturing technologies and customer service strategies to build custom computers unique to the needs of each customer. But Pfeiffer was unwilling to receive counsel from the second group on this issue.

As a result, he not only failed to notice that other firms were gaining on his; he also failed to seize the opportunities created by the Internet and these new manufacturing technologies, as others had done.

The consequences for Compaq?

After consistently missing revenue and profit goals, they were acquired by Hewlett Packard for a fraction of what this once mighty company had been valued.

As a leader you might want to ask yourself, “Do people who are not in my inner circle have a way to get information to me?” “How do I react – what do I do – when someone brings me unwelcome news that might undermine my own assumptions or strategy?” “Am I able to reward the messenger even though I don’t like the message?”

Please drop us a line and share your transparency stories with us. We particularly welcome positive examples of the demonstration of this Speed of Trust behavior.

Today, trust and transparency are as important to corporate reputation as the quality of products and services. Attend Blueline’s Building & Restoring Trust Webinar. Click here to learn more.

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