Best Practices

Be Trusted or Be Gone! Four habits for being transparent, increasing revenue and profitability

In the age of instant information, there isn’t much that corporations can hide from their customers, at least not for long. Be trusted, or be gone! This ultimatum applies to both individuals and organizations. Whether you are serving consumers, or businesses, BEING TRANSPARENT is essential to building long-term productive relationships, and growing revenues and profitability.

Consider embedding into the culture of your organization four habits for transparency that work.

1. Tell one on yourself.

Corporate scandals are nothing more than broken promises and agreements, at first hidden then revealed under scrutiny and pressure. Be the one to break the news, and capitalize on the disarming effect of “telling one on yourself”.

2. Give up the stories and explanations, and acknowledge the broken agreement(s).

Stories, reasons, and explanations do nothing more than trigger investigations. Formal, or informal, investigations only prolong the agony. In the end, you or your customers are either right or wrong. The bond of trust remains broken. A simple and direct acknowledgement of the broken promise/agreement works (i.e., we promised to do “X” by “DATE”, and we did not do that. We will do “X” by a later “DATE”, or we will not be doing “X” at all).

3. Account for the damage and consequences of having broken the agreement(s).

Create a clear and comprehensive plan for dealing with the consequences, and repair the damage caused. Get that plan approved and funded. Communicate it to the impacted stakeholders, ask for their feedback and integrate their contributions into the plan. Next, execute the plan as promised. This step is essential for demonstrating to yourself, your organization, and your stakeholders over time that you and your company are trustworthy in the area or situation where you formerly were not trustworthy.

4. Don’t do it or something similar again.

The plan you set forth in habit 3 must include the implementation of whatever measures are needed to ensure that what happened does not happen again in the future.

Being transparent doesn’t come naturally to individuals or organizations. Yet, everyone wants long-lasting productive relationships. So, go ahead, and give it a try. Pick your most important stakeholder/customer group, identify a broken agreement (small or big), and practice. As you practice, remember that transparency is NOT providing a lot of information, and transparency is NOT communicating all of the valid reasons and statistics that justify the current circumstances. You may look bad and feel bad at first, but you’ll come out smelling like a rose.