Strong relationships, teams and organizations are built on trust. Secretive, closed-door, back room activities and behaviour is a sure way of destroying it.
Two stories in the news today illustrate this point:
“Government’s rights trump employees, HR boss says: workers must wait for job cut news”.
People working for the Canadian government won’t be told anything until the budget is finalized and the messages about the cuts are developed – all this is happening in secret. Worse, these cuts have been in the works since the government was elected May 2, 2011. That is close to 10 months of being left in the dark!
This lack of openness will breed mistrust and fear and it must be demoralizing. Further, it is widely accepted that involving people in the planning and implementation of change – even cutbacks – can improve engagement, understanding and the ability of people to adapt and move forward.
“SNC-Lavalin plunges on outlook, probe”
In the corporate world, it was the Montreal-based engineering firm SNC-Lavalin Group that stole the headlines. It announced a probe into $35 million in unexplained payments. The company issued a statement but the company spokesperson would not provide additional details. The lack of transparency and questions about the company’s conduct are having an impact on investor confidence and trust. The result – a 20% drop in share price. One financial analyst commented, “the stock will be in limbo until the company provides further clarity about what happened.”
Covering up is natural
It is a natural reaction to hide when the news is bad — our instinct is to cover up our mistakes and our messes or to postpone the delivery of bad news. Being transparent, open and genuine is not easy. It may not always be possible to be open — and maybe this is the case with the Canadian government and SNC-Lavalin Group — but every organization should consider the cost of withholding information.
It takes a leap of faith to be honest and open.
Communicating openly, being real and genuine and erring on the side of disclosure builds transparent trustworthy organizations. These organizations are not afraid of openly disclosing relationships, interests, plans and even financial statements and ‘No comment’ is not part of their vocabulary.
Taking a leap of faith pays off — with increased understanding, buy-in and trust.
Today — February 29, is Leap Day. How can you take a leap of faith and be more transparent in your organization?