Welcome to transparency, whether you like it or not.
This is the time when people have access to unprecedented amounts of information, including deep insights into what your company is up to.
And they are using this information to form opinions – opinions that shape their attitudes toward your business; attitudes that drive their behavior with respect to your business.
Be they employees, customers, partners, investors, or industry pundits, what you do, how you behave, and why you do what you do all become factors in deciding your company’s fate.
Hence, our advice for leaders wishing to prevail in these transparent times…
Examine what you do.
Are your products and services going beyond what others are doing? Are you surprising and delighting your customers along the way? Are your employees proud to tell others about the company they work for, and are they able to do it through compelling product stories? Is your offering making life better for people in meaningful ways? Remember, people are looking through the lens of transparency and holding your offering up against all others in real-time.
Consider how you behave.
What does it feel like to work in your offices, factories, and distribution points? What does it feel like to have a meeting with your sales reps? What does it feel like to call into your customer service? What does it feel like to get an order from above? Remember, stories about how you behave in a transparent world are told and retold both inside and outside your business.
Know why you do what you do.
Lurking behind what your business does and how it behaves lies in its intent. Why is it here? Just to make money? Just to create things people don’t really need? Or is there something bigger and more purposeful driving your business? Is there what some call a “purpose beyond profit” that your highly-informed consumers and employees can see operating behind your business? People are far more discerning about what they buy, whom they buy from, and where they work. They want to buy products that make their lives (and the world) better. They want to do work that matters. If your “why” syncs with their “why”, you win.
Clear leaders don’t fear transparency.
At a time when people know as much about your business, as you know about them, it pays to focus on what really matters.
By starting with a meaningful “why”, successful leaders reshape both their offering, and the behavior of their organization, in ways that make their purpose beyond profit both personally relevant and emotionally important to people.
The result is a strong, meaningful connection with people, one that isn’t threatened by increased transparency.