Creating a Cultural Shift Toward Transparency

Be honest, does your organization truly embrace transparency? You might think it does, but you can always do a little bit better.

According to Joe Krause, VP of customer engagement at AchieveIt, “The idea of being held accountable to results sometimes scares people.” Your employees may worry that, if they are transparent about their performance, they’ll be punished for their failures, even if you assure them they won’t be. This fear of transparency leads to a culture of secrecy and mistrust within an organization.

Imagine you’re part of an organization that has a company-wide event twice a year to present all of the progress that has been made in the past six months. In these meetings, the CEO addresses the company with a speech that has been carefully written and pre-approved by the board. Somehow, the progress is always significant and the results always favorable. The presentation is followed by a Q&A session, but all questions have been submitted and approved ahead of time. 

Everything about these events feels staged and fake. No one in the company takes them very seriously. This type of “orchestrated transparency” breeds mistrust among employees, and it becomes difficult to make informed decisions.

Transparency is essential for effective strategic planning and execution. When everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to make informed decisions, identify risks, and track progress. In this article, you’ll learn about the importance of transparency in strategic planning and execution, as well as a few tips on how to establish a culture of transparency in your organization.

The importance of transparency

There are numerous benefits to embracing a culture of transparency in strategic planning and execution. First, transparency allows you to control your narrative. If you don’t tell your story, someone else will. As Joe Krause says, “You are able to tell the story that you want to tell and let people draw their own conclusions from it.” If you’re doing great work, the only conclusion they can draw is a good one — that the company is great and that you’re moving in the right direction.

Second, transparency builds trust with your team. When employees know that they can trust their leaders to be honest with them, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated. And they are more likely to be willing to share their own ideas and feedback.

Transparency also helps break down silos within your organization. When everyone has access to the same information, they are better able to understand how their work fits into the overall picture. This fosters collaboration and innovation.

Building trust and breaking down silos at the same time produces even more benefits than doing just one or the other. When you have better communication and give employees the freedom to make themselves heard, you get better decision-making. You’ll have access to more accurate and timely information, allowing you to make informed decisions. This is especially important in strategic planning, where the stakes are high and the consequences of making a bad decision are significant.

Being honest and open with your information also helps you get approval for higher budgets or more resources. If you can show your stakeholders that you are using their resources wisely and making progress toward your goals, they are more likely to be willing to invest in your organization.

Being more transparent helps you retain top talent. Employees are more likely to stay with organizations that they feel inspired by and trust. Transparency creates a culture of trust and empowerment, which makes your organization more attractive to top talent.

Finally, transparency can help build a more resilient organization. It makes it easier to identify and mitigate risks. This level of risk management makes it possible to anticipate and prepare for challenges. This can help the organization avoid or minimize damage during difficult times.


4 Stages to Create a Culture of Execution

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Transparency beyond your organization

Transparency is important not only for conveying information within your organization but also outside of it. It is an essential part of building trust and collaboration with other organizations, stakeholders, and the public.

For example, organizations in industries where safety is paramount benefit greatly from sharing information with each other. It helps to identify and mitigate risks and improve best practices so everyone succeeds together.

In other cases, organizations may have a duty to share information with external stakeholders. For example, government agencies are often required to disclose information to the public. This helps build trust and accountability and ensures that the public is aware of how their government is operating.

One example of how transparency benefits external stakeholders is in the healthcare sector. Healthcare organizations use dashboards to track and share information about their performance, such as wait times, patient satisfaction, and infection rates. This information is used by patients, policymakers, and other stakeholders to make informed decisions about healthcare services.

Transparency beyond your organization is a powerful tool for building trust, collaboration, and accountability. By sharing information with others, organizations improve their performance and make a positive impact on the world.

How to approach transparency

Transparency is not something that happens overnight. It takes time, effort, and commitment from everyone in the organization. But the benefits of transparency are well worth the effort. Here are a few tips for getting started on the path to transparency:

  1. Get over the fear of being transparent. In other words, don’t be afraid to show your shortcomings. This may seem counterintuitive, but the benefits of transparency far outweigh the risks. 
  2. Set a cadence of accountability. Once you’ve decided to be transparent, you need to set a cadence of how often you’ll communicate with your stakeholders. This could be quarterly, monthly, or even weekly, depending on the size and complexity of your organization. The important thing is to be consistent so that people know what to expect. Monthly reporting is a good way to ensure that people are held accountable for their progress, while quarterly reporting is best used to provide a more comprehensive overview of the organization’s performance.
  3. Be honest in your reporting. If you’re not honest, people will eventually figure it out, and your credibility will be damaged.
  4. Establish a standard reporting process. A standard reporting process helps ensure that your reporting is consistent and accurate. This process should define the types of data that will be collected, the frequency with which it will be collected, and the format in which it will be presented.
  5. Make data accessible. This means providing your leadership team with the information they need to make informed decisions. Make data accessible by publishing it on your website, creating a data dashboard, or using a data visualization tool.

Transparency is not always easy, but it’s worth it. By following these tips, you will be on the path to creating a more transparent organization.

Make transparency work for you

Simply understanding how transparency will help your company is one thing. Seeing it in action is another.

Utility companies are responsible for ensuring the safety and reliability of their operations. However, tracking compliance adherence and risk management across multiple plants is a daunting task. In the past, utility companies often used simple spreadsheets and slide decks to track this data. This made it difficult to get a clear picture of the overall risk exposure and to identify areas where improvement was needed.

To address these challenges, a group of utility companies implemented a standard reporting process using AchieveIt. This standardization provided them with a single source of truth for their risk data. And in doing so, it enabled them to make better decisions on how to mitigate their risks.

This new standard reporting process helped the utility companies improve communication across each of their organizations. Everyone now has access to the same risk data, so they can all work together to mitigate risks. This has helped to create a more collaborative and transparent culture.

As a result of the standard reporting process, the utility companies were able to save time and resources. They were also able to improve their communication and transparency.

To learn more about how utility companies used AchieveIt to improve transparency and efficiency, please read the full case study here.


Utility Companies Customer Story

Read this customer story to learn how large utility companies are gaining visibility across multiple plans with AchieveIt.

Utility Company Customer Story_achieveit

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