Why Be Transparent?

“Let’s all be open, honest, just get along, ok?”

How many times have you had a conversation with someone in a business setting and you had the gut feeling they weren’t being completely upfront and honest with you? Now think about how long you continued to interact or work with that person after that conversation? I’m willing to bet it probably wasn’t for very long. Any idea why? Probably as a result of lack of trust.

Trust is a very big part of business. It’s not something we often think about or are intentional about, but it’s always an underlying thought.

Why is it so important? It’s important because we’re all taking risks in everything we do in business and we want to know that other people we work with aren’t going to increase those risks or make our life or business worse. We are risking our time by, for example, focusing on a certain project, spending our time with a certain customers, or giving money to a certain vendor. If we can’t be fairly certain things are going to turn out well, then we will choose another project, customer, or vendor…or at least we should. We should listen to our gut instinct on the topic of trust.

So, if trust is so important, how can they gain our trust or vice versa? By being transparent. They should be open about what they do, how they do it, why they do it, and how it’ll be good for you. Now, there are certainly some secret sauces they can’t share, like the super secret search algorithms of Google, the secret formula of Coca Cola, or the code behind a small startup’s custom sales web software application.

With that said, they should still be able to represent and prove to you:

  • They are very good at what they do
  • They have done it before
  • What work is involved on your part
  • What the product or service will cost
  • What the true ROI could be if implemented in a certain way, and
  • What other people have succeeded in making that ROI with this provider.

Additionally, this should happen without a lot of smoke and mirrors on their part, and without you having to pull this information out of them.

This openness is what I call transparency.

So, to answer the original question, “Why be transparent?”. I think the answer is, so we can all just get a long and each succeed with our businesses and jobs. It’s must easier that way, and we can each have more success that way…if we’re transparent.

In our custom software business we are transparent, along with also managing expectations, focusing on on-time on-budget on-spec projects, and being strategic with customers. Following these principles makes the work a lot more fun and makes me a lot less stressed.

Are you transparent? What guiding principles or policies do you use in your business to do well by your customers, vendors, and others?