On Transparency, Part I

Finally! Here it is folks, Part I of some of my thoughts on transparency.

I really thought I was into this Enterprise 2.0 collaboration/transparency/etc. thing. I thought I was all enlightened and loved to communicate. Then I decided to do something completely unexpected and shared a link to my master project list (all 14 pages of it) with my peer directors at my firm so that they would know about upcoming IT changes. You know what I found out?

Transparency is SCARY! Why?

  • If people know what you’re doing all the time, they’ll know when you’re doing something wrong.
  • Opening the kimono (so to speak) invites people to comment on what’s going on. Even if you don’t want them to!
  • If you’re the first person in your company to open the blinds, people will know much more about your work/department than you’ll know about theirs.
  • Even if you’re not doing anything wrong, the more people know, the more gossip (both positive and negative) will happen about your doings.

So I sent the email (while experiencing all of the above fears) and held my breath. “What if they think I’m nuts? What if I’m doing something wrong? Do I want them to be able to tell me what I’m doing wrong when I don’t know what they’re doing to attack back?” These thoughts were surprising to me. I always claim that I could LIVE on camera given the chance. But no, I was paranoid about sharing a document that included information that I would have been happy to tell each of them in-person instead.

Results? Well, no one has said anything. One person has looked at it. I’m honestly glad I did it, if only to experience some of the feelings that people have that make them hesitant about opening things up.