Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We should be clear about transparency

Wikileaks has hit the headlines this week – posting 92,201 military, intelligence and diplomatic documents on its site, and simultaneously The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel published analysis. Whatever you think of this exposure of confidential military information what Wikileaks is doing points to one of the most important features of sustainable and responsible business practice – transparency.

In committing to CSR a business sets clear baseline figures, creates 1, 5, 15 year and even longer (I know of one Not for Profit that has a 500 year plan) targets for improvement. There is no benefit in setting the targets and progress towards meeting them, if they are not communicated internally and externally.

Your business might not be perfect (in fact it probably is not) but by honestly telling your story and showing your commitment to change you have the opportunity to engage meaningfully with staff, suppliers, clients and the community.

If you are really lucky you will find your transparency allows others to spot weaknesses and flaws that you have overlooked (that you’ve been too close to see) and by telling you about them give you an opportunity change.

Transparency and open communications are powerful business opportunities.

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