Do you remember when you were a kid and you told a secret to a friend and said, “Please, don’t tell anyone else this!” Then days later the entire school knew your secret and your friend was like, “I just told one person!” Yeah…if you thought that was bad, fast forward to 2017 where the entire internet can find out in mere seconds.
I’m pretty sure Travis Kalanick has had a shitty year.
I think Justin Bariso said it best in his LinkedIn post about Uber and their doomed fate with Kalanick at the helm (former CEO). With Susan Fowler spilling the beans on what I would think had to be the most nerve-wracking post of her career, on February 19, 2017, she was brave and told the real terrible awful about what was really going on at Uber. Yikes!
This was merely a reminder that, “Please, don’t tell anyone else this!” is a bad game to play in business as social media is gasoline to an online spark. Let’s talk about the importance of transparency.
Do you have values or do you live by values?
Let’s first start with the list of what you say you and your business values are. It might be on a fancy plaque at the office or on your website, but is it on and in your heart?
Quite frankly, people are tired of the bullshit. They want people and companies to stand for something…and they want to know what that is…and they want it to show up in every facet of your business…and they want it to shine through everything you say, do, present, etc.
For example, if you work with female clientele, is your office truly female-friendly? Are your employees provided some training around this? Are you members of organizations who support women initiatives? Does your marketing talk about this? Do you post on social media about topics important to women? The list goes on, but it’s more than having a value…you live by them, too.
The same goes for our flaws, though.
If you said you did women’s marketing well and you really didn’t, admit it. You heard me right. Fix what got screwed up, admit it, and be humble about it. People tend to want to forgive those who share their flaws. They also tend to want to give second chances because that’s what makes our human spirit so wonderful. If you hide the mistake or worse have someone tell others about your mistake – the reputational risk is huge.
Transparency is more than mere exposure.
My biggest fear about the word ‘transparency’ though is that it will be hurled into the negative buzzword bucket and not taken seriously when people feel it’s worn out its welcome. Nothing with this word should evoke a negative response. Rather – I look at transparency as a way to share.
Transparency is a way to share your purpose. Each year there seems to be a word that describes this same idea:
When you are completely transparent you will find that people can connect with you, your story, your mission, your purpose, your talent, your place in the world so much more naturally because you are living your values versus just having some values written down somewhere.
Be a person of action – Review your values, your mission statement, your vision statement, your website, your social media profiles, your bio. Everything you stand for should come out in those pieces as true and simple as possible. If you screwed up, please just fix it, admit it, and move on. Don’t hide your flaws. And…whatever you do – don’t ask employees to act like some mistake never happened. That is a surefire way of igniting a long-burning blaze. Don’t be Uber!