Transparency and Leadership

A recent book by a new friend got me thinking about transparency and leadership.  The book is Business at the Speed of NOW by John M. Bernard.  John's an Instigator here at Lead Change.  We met through social media and we've spoken a few times about how the Internet and a number of other issues are forcing business to change rapidly and drastically.

Business at the Speed of NOW: Fire Up Your People, Thrill Your Customers and Crush Your Competitors is a thoughtful book based on a number of practical, real-life experiences John and his organization have taken businesses and clients through.  We're witnessing a transition to a mass-customization economy where businesses that accept constraints and fail to embrace change will become fossils - case studies of life from a different era.

John talks about "Then" vs. "NOW" businesses and puts together 12 chapter process to help your organization navigate and succeed in the Now economy.  Chapters like Thriving in the Now and Making the Shift to NOW get you started and others like Solving Problems NOW and Enabling the NOW Workforce provide practical steps in the process as well.

One chapter that particularly resonated with me is titled Creating NOW Transparency.  The author talks about how the NOW workforce and the NOW economy creates different problems for today's organizations.  As a result, transparency is more important than ever.

7 Rules for Total Transparency

He goes on to list 7 Rules for Total Transparency.

  1. Seek facts not blame.
  2. Ask for and offer help.
  3. Speak the truth, respectfully.
  4. Think organizationally, act departmentally.
  5. Engage fully.
  6. Laugh and play.
  7. Share leadership.

All of these are important to creating a transparent organization that has the courage to see, face and overcome its problems.  All are important in building an organization that brings more than just money to its people and its customers.  Transparency enables sincerity and trust. Trust is the lubricant that enables organizations to function, grow and prosper. Trust enables success.  Lack of transparency causes doubt, introduces fear and destroys trust.

Sharing Leadership is probably the most often overlooked in the list above.  Key to transparency is giving others in the organization the information and the ability to influence by offering ideas and demonstrating responsibility.  "Everyone in the organization should take accountability for modeling the ground rules, regardless of who actually chairs a meeting or runs a department or owns a process."  This idea fully aligns with a core principle of the Lead Change Group; leadership comes from within, from your character or who you are.  A transparent organization is one that encourages distributed character-based leadership rather than a narrow, positional leadership model.

NOW is the time to free your organization of Then thinking.  If you're a business owner or leader, you can create the change in your organization or it will happen to you.  Are you ready for the challenge?  Then check out Business at the Speed of NOW.

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