As we begin 2010, my goal is to encourage leaders to become more transparent. I’ve said many times that in the digital age, Google is less about “search” than “reputation management.” In an online, instant information world, it’s virtually impossible to hide anything. The drunk driving arrest in college, the bankruptcy, or your missed child support payments, will all likely surface in an online search. Many leaders from religion, business, and government have been brought low as a result of
unexpected documents or photographs that came up online. “To Google” has become part of the vocabulary.
I visited one pastor who pulled me aside and said, “It would be better if you didn’t mention my yacht to any of my church members. I don’t think they’d understand.” I told him he was living in the stone age. I said it would only take a reasonably intelligent high school kid on “Google Earth” about 10 minutes to not only find out about the yacht, but have a satellite photo of the boat sitting at the dock.
It’s important to note that it’s not just about being caught, it’s about doing the right thing. Al Johnson, writing over at the Brazen Careerist, created a great list of differences between a transparent leader and a non-transparent leader. As we launch into 2010, let’s see where we stand:
A transparent leader says what’s on their mind,
A non-transparent leader says what others want to hear.
A transparent leader is consistent in their actions and reactions,
A non-transparent leader is inconsistent in their actions and reactions.
A transparent leader is honest and admits when they need help,
A non-transparent leader attempts to cover up flaws or the need for help.
A transparent leader supports bold claims with bold supporting action,
A non-transparent leader says one thing and then turns around and does another.
A transparent leader is honest and openly communicates,
A non-transparent leader will lie and withhold information that should be shared.
Based on the five examples above, are you a transparent leader?