Radical Transparency in the Era of Open Business

6 thoughts on “Radical Transparency in the Era of Open Business”

  1. Luis, So here is a good question for you, if one was looking for a new role, outside their present company, how could they do it without their management knowing and possibly firing them early? OPenness does have it’s drawbacks.

    In a different discussion, while speaking at Sugarcon we discussed should HR be using CRM for employees. I argued they should use it.

    Encouraging people to be social and having them be social are still two different things.

    1. Hi Keith, that’s a very very interesting question and perhaps one that would require a bit of fresh thinking in terms of helping us move into the 21st century. I would be extremely worried if when I would decide I would be looking for a new job, whether internally or externally, that I wouldn’t want my boss to know about it. That certainly highlights a rather poignant issue that needs clear fixing: trust.

      Seriously, if I were a manager and I would know that one of my employees is looking for a job I would love to know as soon as possible. Why? Well, because I would work my b*tt off to help him / her out to find a new job as soon as I possibly can. It is the least I could do for someone who has been working with me in my project team for some time, whatever it may well be. It’s the least I could do as a token of gratitude.

      I think we need to start shifting gears in terms of how we think about jobs. They are just that, a job, nothing more, nothing less. They don’t last forever. My boss doesn’t necessarily need to be kept in the dark till I am gone. On the contrary. I could use her / his expertise to guide me as to where I could go next and so forth. I actually did that while I moved from my previous job to this one and all along all of my management line has been informed and kept up to date. End result? A win-win situation, because I have now got a new gig while I am still helping out my old team as a token for gratitude for helping me make the move.

      Seriously, I don’t think we should worry too much about keep these things too secret. It’s not going to help us much, other than create perhaps a different set of problems we wouldn’t need in the first place. So, in that use case, I do still think that openness and transparency would benefit more than harm.

      And about HR using CRM with employees I would agree with you as well that they should use it, but more than anything else because it would facilitate that transformation of Human Resources into Human Relationships as in CRM … Another change that needs to happen as soon as we possibly can. It’s about time. We are not resources. We are people, and, as such, we thrive on relationships vs. being treated as objects 🙂

  2. Hi Luis
    Great discussion, fantastic links and as usual a lot to think about!
    You are right that transparency and information are hot topics in an ever more connected and networked world.
    The trouble with knowledge – or information – or data (whatever category you would like to put it in) is that it is not just power – knowledge as a commodity has “value” and how it is harnessed, how it is accessed, how it is used and re-used now, and in to the future, opens up all kind of business possibilities in the global business world. The “money trail” as Rachel Happe coined it.

    So what kind of transparency are we talking about?
    -Internal organisational transparency where everyone works in an open and honest way about their activities and what information they have to share?
    – or a really “open business” form where the “value” of the information your organisation may hold is no longer in question but is freely accessible to all outside of the organisation?

    What interests me, whether you are referring to transparency within a single organisational environment – or in the true “open business” world outside of the organisation is at what point the availability of that information becomes more valuable “out” than keeping it in a closed environment (something Thomas Frey touched upon in his genealogy video)?

    You say transparency has its limits (it’s grey areas too)– so how radical can it be?. What is the tipping point that will persuade increased or radical transparency? What will the cost of the transparency be? And in an ever changing and fast moving world how long will that tipping point remain the same, how many variables will there be and how will that same information be accessed, re-used and even abused in the future?
    Does the future need to be transparent too?

    Great post Luis

    Thanks very much

    1. Hi Marie-Louise, many many thanks, once again, for taking the time to drop by and share some absolutely delightful feedback comments and right on target on what I was aiming at! For me, I make a distinction of two different types of transparency:

      – The one that happens with customers and BPs where businesses become more open and transparent to them, with the main purpose of helping facilitate co-creation where the ecosystem opens up and people through that participation, collaboration and knowledge sharing where information flows freely allows to build better products and business processes to reduce barriers and eventually just aim at what really matters: delighting your customers.

      – The second one, not mutually exclusive, by the way, is that one where businesses themselves need to be a whole lot more transparent to their employees. And this is where I am thinking about radical transparency, since I am more and more convinced that unless it’s really, *really* confidential in terms of some of the nature of that information shared, there is no excuse why everything else should be happening out there in the open for all employees to know. We are seeing how more and more customers are demanding that kind of openness, but employees, too! They want to know whether their own focus on the job, their purpose and meaning align with those from the business and in what shape / form, because if they don’t, the moment they know, the moment they will decide to move on.

      I think one of the main key themes from openness and (radical) transparency is how it’s going to help us bring back something that I think we need today, now more than ever: corporate social responsibility. It’s been far too long since businesses, specially, large enterprises lost that responsibility towards the community and the society they live in.

      Radical transparency will bring them back into the game.

      And about all of the questions you end up the blog comment with, I am going to provide perhaps a different perspective… I won’t answer them just yet, since I don’t think we have done enough exploration just yet on the topic. It’s kind of difficult to try to answer questions about something that we really don’t know how it will work out, because we haven’t tried it out. Along the lines of what Thomas Frey also hinted on the video. Perhaps that’s also part of applying some fresh thinking into how we have been doing things all along… Instead of asking ahead, let’s just do it and ask later, when we may have much more information and experiences to answer those questions much better and much more accurately 🙂

      Thanks again for the feedback, Marie-Louise! Excellent stuff as usual!

  3. Afternoon Luis,

    Boy, Thomas Fry really knows his stuff. I could never have learned all this social paraphernalia in 10 lifetimes. However, I fail to see how he can categorize radical transparency and Google in a single breath. Google is THE MOST secretive non-governmental corporation there ever was! They are a digital equivalent of The Illuminati!! There is absolute power in SECRECY! Google has unequivocally usurped the entire internet in one fell swoop. Google is now to the internet what Sadam Hussein was to Irag. And others WILL follow suit by proxy. Facebook, Twitter et al. perhaps. And other corporations yet unformed!! One thing is for certain: you can kiss PRIVACY well and truly goodbye. He’s right on that issue. Wish there was time/space to discuss this at length. For more information watch Steven Speilberg in the DVD extras of ‘Minority Report’. Still, adore your sentiment Luis. Amazeballs post, notwithstanding.

    May you enjoy a simply superb day

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