The Power of Openness
While reading Seth Godin's blog today, I was struck by his point about the power of videotape to shape behavior. He was commenting on the shabby way that he was treated while trying to buy a lobster and he wondered:
So, the two questions are, "Do you think the owner wanted them to act this way?" and "Would they have acted differently if they were on camera?"
What a delightful line of thought! One of the key design principles for being able to build a self-renewing organization is "openness." Why? Openness prevents abuses. People who are going to do unethical things don’t want anyone to know about it, that’s why they require secrecy. (Why do you think they call them “shady” dealings?) Whether its employees who our mistreating customers, or senior managers who are looting the company for personal gain, they all depend on secrecy.
Behaviors like that are like cockroaches: they like dark places out of peoples’ view. But when you shine a light on them, they scatter. That’s the affect of openness on unethical, illicit, and illegal behavior.
Great organizations of any kind (including countries) only prosper in a climate of openness. I wonder what would happen if everyone in a company behaved as if their every move were being broadcast live to the world. I guarantee that they would change their behavior! How could your organization benefit from more openness? What can you do to increase openness in your organization?