Radical transparency

Being radically transparent in business has many benefits – both for individual employees and for the employer. It’s especially effective in written form.

Here is how full business transparency adds value:

  1. Information will be scrutinized broadly. Problems can be discussed openly. Better solutions are found.
  2. Colleagues will be engaged. Insight and ability to influence decisions lead to motivated staff.
  3. Learning is leveraged. Information is shared in a time-efficient way and colleagues can dig deeper when they wish to. When coaching feedback is shared widely everyone can learn from others’ mistakes.
  4. Lessons won’t be forgotten, and can be learnt from by many people for a long time to come, including future hires.
  5. Transparency breeds honesty and trust, which is essential for fruitful team work.
  6. Anyone can reach the truth. People should not have to guess what happened, why a decision was taken, or guess what others are thinking. Transparent leadership.
  7. Transparency brings about justice. It eliminates unfairness, inequality, favoritism, cronyism and nepotism.
  8. The time that senior professionals spend on coaching will have a high return on investment when coaching feedback is shared transparently and broadly.
  9. Large quantities of interlinked written information allows professionals to understand the background and take the right decisions. It saves time and allows the company to grow.
  10. Writing down your knowledge gives you professional authority on “your subjects”. It’s also good for SEO and content marketing.

Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates is one of the richest and most influential businessmen in the world. What is the meaning and importance of transparency according to this very successful business builder? He writes in his recent book:

Being radically truthful and transparent with your colleagues and expecting your colleagues to be the same with you ensures that important issues are apparent instead of hidden. It also enforces good behavior and good thinking, because when you have to explain yourself, everyone can openly assess the merits of your logic. If you are handling things well, radical transparency will make that clear, and if you are handling things badly, radical transparency will make that clear as well, so it helps to maintain high standards. | Radical truth and radical transparency are fundamental to having a real idea meritocracy. The more people can see what is happening—the good, the bad, and the ugly—the more effective they are at deciding the appropriate ways of handling things. This approach is also invaluable for training: Learning is compounded and accelerated when everyone has the opportunity to hear what everyone else is thinking. As a leader, you will get the feedback essential for your learning and for the continual improvement of the organization’s decision-making rules. And seeing firsthand what’s happening and why builds trust and allows people to make the independent assessments of the evidence that a functioning idea meritocracy requires. Source: Principles: Life and Work p. 323-324

How can you apply transparent practices to your business?

At LiteBreeze we embrace radical transparency within many areas of our business. Everyone defines business transparency differently, but this is what it means to LiteBreeze. Examples of what we share widely:

  1. Coaching. Software developers’ feedback documents are shared widely within the organization. Sometimes they are shared with clients as well – typically after a salary appraisal / performance review. Full transparency builds understanding.
  2. Todo lists are shared and allows staff to understand each others priorities. Read our todo list guidelines. This organizational transparency allows staff to maximize their value-creation by grabbing seniors’ work.
  3. Time entries that our staff books are available to clients in real-time through our time sheet / ERP software. Read our time entry guidelines.
  4. Time sheet overviews of how exactly our staff spends their time is shared with clients and our whole organization.
  5. Continuous mistake-based learning within all departments is documented and shared.

Radical transparency is one the core principles at LiteBreeze.

A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have. -Tim Ferriss