Sunday, January 04, 2009

Is transparency just for outsiders?

The January Edition of the Mission-Based Management Newsletter is up, and in it I ponder a bit about transparency and how we tend to focus on just the "outsiders" and forget that transparency is for the people inside the organization as well. Here's a brief part of what I say:

Transparency should not simply be for "outsiders". It should not stop outside the organization's door. It should also thrive inside your organization. Each staff member and volunteer, each committee and work group, every manager and senior manager should be open, available and accountable to others. Why? Because when organizations are internally transparent there is more engagement, more employee satisfaction, more good ideas thrown at problems, and less gossip and paranoia about what's going to happen.

You may think your organization is transparent now. If so, good, but answer the five questions below before you pat yourself on the back. You make be surprised.

1. In your last strategic plan update, did you share the draft plan with everyone in the organization (all staff and volunteers) for comment? (Same question for your marketing and tech plans, of course.)
2. Are all staff invited to every board meeting? (They should only be invited as observers, not participants.)
3. Are the minutes of every board and board committee meeting as well as every staff meeting available online in the staff section of your website?
4. Do you share your draft budget with every staff member to get input?
5. Do you encourage ideas from staff on how to improve service or solve problems?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, my question to you is why not? What do you gain by not sharing information? How does your organization, your mission, benefit by keeping information close to the vest?

Here's the truth: it doesn't......

For the rest of the newsletter and some tech and marketing tips, go to the full newsletter.

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