Transparency: How To Know What You See And See What You Know

transparencyTransparency. It’s one of those terms you hear a lot, but have you ever thought about what it really means?

It sounds vaguely political, or maybe legal, or possibly even fiscal. Usually, when people talk about it, it sounds like a good thing. But have you ever actually seen it? (Yes, that’s a trick question.)

Even more important, does transparency have anything to do with you, your job or the employees you manage?

Well, that depends on what kind of transparency we’re talking about. There’s price transparency, which requires disclosure of the price structure for all customers, allowing comparison shopping. There’s governmental transparency, which calls for “open government” that’s accountable to its citizens. Scientific transparency facilitates collaboration by employing standardized methods of collecting and analyzing data, and by making the data publicly accessible and reusable. In business and finance, transparency usually refers to full, accurate and timely disclosure so that assets can be valued accurately.

The common thread in all these definitions is the importance of having accurate, accessible information in order to make the best possible decisions, whether it’s a purchase, a vote, a theorem, or an investment.

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When we have solid information, we make better decisions. When we make better decisions, we improve our performance.

So wouldn’t it make sense to create a culture of transparency around employee learning and performance?

  • Wouldn’t adoption improve if workers felt informed and prepared for change?
  • Wouldn’t timely, accurate feedback help employees embrace new tasks and processes?
  • Wouldn’t measuring your training program’s effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness) help you discover ways to achieve better results?
  • Wouldn’t it help to know which factors are important to measure and which should be ignored?
  • Wouldn’t sharing tools and practices that have proven successful in similar fields help you plan your own programs?
  • Wouldn’t understandable data on pre- and post-implementation operations help inform management’s expectations (not to mention budgeting decisions)?

You’ll never look at your job – or others – in quite the same way.

This blog originally appeared on SCN and was republished with permission

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