Is Radical Transparency That Nuts?

by Mar 3, 2021Strategy

Radical transparency is rare.

Why?

We justify secrecy with the concern that our competition will steal from us.

But in reality, we’re just afraid to be embarrassed if we publicly share too much of what’s going on inside our organization.

In one of my articles from last week, I wrote that if you commit to a higher purpose, you should practice radical transparency. It is, in my opinion, one of the criteria to evaluate if your organization should even continue to exist.

If you are fully committed to serving your clients and your community, what should matter to you is that more people see, support, and adopt your methods and processes. That includes your competitors too. Your impact on people, society, the environment and other organizations should be more important than anything else.

With that, you should then be completely open to share exactly how your products are made, where you are sourcing material from, and how your service is delivered. You should have no problem having your employees share their experience. It would be best if you shared your secret sauce so that it’s no longer secret anymore.

For many, this is a crazy idea. I know it is also a powerful one.

Over the years, I have encouraged my clients to experiment with it. I have seen incredibly positive results.

The idea of radical transparency is scary, but it also leads to important breakthroughs:

  • it is a matter of honesty
  • it builds trust like nothing else
  • it forces you to walk the talk
  • it sends a powerful message of detachment
  • it gives you confidence
  • it incites innovation
  • it attracts people with the right skills to help you win

Patagonia practices radical transparency. Here is an eye-opening article from the employee who helped create the Footprint Chronicle Website, a tool that allows companies and consumers to take a look at the reasons behind Patagonia’s strategic choices.

A remarkable example of courage and leadership.

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