How to measure transparency?  My view of transparency is “Control vs. Trust.”  Does IT control everything you do?  Does management control everything you say?  Or does IT provide you with tools and trust you will use technology for the better.  Do your management and executive leadership trust you to make good decisions with information and knowledge?

So, maybe you are a “laggard” or “old school” and afraid to take risks.  Or, maybe you are called the “bull in the china shop” by those afraid to make a mistake.  Companies and people that are able to fail faster are going to learn quicker.  They are likely to be out ahead of the pack innovating and working differently, accommodating and adapting to a changing workforce and moving from traditional industrial to the Digital World.

In fact, I see it in myself, someone who has learned by mistakes (from raising kids) and through the observation of others’ mistakes.  It allows for faster processing and decision making.  Ask yourself how many times you touched a HOT stovetop?  You learn pretty quickly not to touch the stovetop.

Ways to think about increasing transparency using technology that is available today:

  1. Walk over to someone’s work area (open door; open layout) – In person
  2. Pick up a phone and call someone or conference others – Voice
  3. Send a text message to a group of people or individual – Texting (SMS)
  4. Send an instant message to someone or a group of people with knowledge of a topic – Skype
  5. Send an email; put people on the TO: line; maybe CC: your boss; perhaps BCC: your boss’s boss – Email
  6. Talk over the water cooler – In person
  7. Talk over breakfast, lunch, dinner or a drink after work – In person relationship building
  8. Not in the same geographic location; start a web conference – Video conferencing
  9. Don’t worry about how polished the message is; start the conversation openly – Raise awareness
  10. Keep transparency by not judging others; add value to the conversation – Business-centric
  11. Be yourself; don’t be afraid to share and trust your gut – Engaged
  12. There are many ways to increase transparency; share your experiences and tools

Transparency can be tricky bit the technology is available.  Are you thinking “HOW DO I CONTROL THIS?”  Or are you wondering, “HOW DO I GET ENGAGED and EMPOWERED?”  Here’s a new Microsoft technology for increasing transparency using Office 365 and what they call Delve.

msftcollins

Okay, you are interested in understanding more…

First, the Myth about Social Media (a place where many see transparency start) is that this type of media is input to gain greater transparency into your customers.  It is important to create a position in the Marketing Department – NOT in your IT Department – to understand your customer.

There are an increasing number of tools to help connect marketing to existing customers and prospects.  Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, should not be viewed as your internal or business-to-business solution tools.  However, when IT is controlling who has access, there are likely business opportunities being missed by the marketing and sales staff.

Second, trust is a lost characteristic by all of us!  There was a time when the front door was unlocked.  I left the keys in my car.  And as a kid at age eight, I would ride my bike alone freely through town.  So, ask your boss, “Do you trust me to make good decisions?”

If the answer is yes, you are on your way to increased transparency.  If IT says they don’t trust you, ask them why?  If IT answers with something like, “You don’t know how to use technology”; they are likely correct.  So, why isn’t IT controlling (governing or providing) the use of easy-to-use TOOLS, enabling the business to govern the people and process to higher profitability.

If I could just get $100 from every person I talk to about how IT is not providing them with the tools they need.  It could be the $100 the business spent last week trying to figure out how to get information shared with a certain group of people to complete their job.  I may have enough to retire soon.

Third, technology can be an enabler.  In fact, experiment with different ways to increase transparency.  Technology should be easy, fun and enabling for all those that require sharing information and knowledge.  I challenge you for one month to work differently.  Ask your CEO, CIO, CFO, Director, Manager and Co-Workers: “Hey, do you TRUST me?”

Finally, if you are planning to move quicker, increase your revenue and brand awareness, then the goal is to work on smaller business centric, customer related and continual improvement activities in days or weeks, not MONTHS or YEARS.  This is going to require an increased level of transparency by everyone.   So, what is your application strategy to increase transparency in 2015?

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