Transparency is No Longer a Choice

Almost every day, I see an article or brand study talking about how corporations need to become more transparent. The sentiment is good, but the implication is that transparency is a choice, and that the alternative is to be opaque or shrouded in our actions. This really isn’t the case anymore.

We operate in a world where almost everyone has a phone equipped with a portable video studio capable of instantaneous global distribution. As distressing as it may seem, we are all being watched.

Whether we like it or not, every customer having a bad experience with your service department is starting to act like Mike Wallace on a sting. Remember when restaurants used to try to determine when the food critic was stopping in so they could put on their best show? Well today every customer is a food critic and reviews don’t last a day, they stay online forever!

Whether your employee is bad-mouthing a customer, your accountant is fudging the books or your CEO has more than a casual interest in the new intern, you’re secrets aren’t likely to stay secrets for long.

What can we do to cope with a world that has gone from a 24-hour news cycle to a newsroom with 300 million reporters? There’s only one choice facing organizations under these circumstances: Do the right thing.

Maybe I’m an idealist, but I think most organizations will have no options other than to tell the truth, treat the customer with courtesy, provide a nurturing habitat for employees and show respect for the opinions and lifestyles of others, because if they don’t, we’ll all be watching. And that’s a good thing.

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