Transparency – I Can See Clearly Now

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way (lyrics by Arthur Baker and Anthony McIlwain)

In today’s world communication is the key to completing projects.  I have covered that at length in earlier posts.  And a key to effective communication is transparency.  I had a high school teacher, Mrs. Joann Mullen, who would often, as one of my classmates was stammering, tell us, “say what you mean and mean what you say.”  This should be true in all of your verbal and written communications. But there is a level beyond that you should aspire to.

Your entire job should be transparent. A good example of transparency is a Kanban Board.  There are variations, but generally on that board are listed:

  • Work waiting to be started
  • Work in progress
  • Completed work

Anyone is interested in knowing what I’m doing and what my priorities can just look at the Kanban Board.  If she feels that they have something that is high priority or needs immediate attention, they are welcome to discuss it with me and have it prioritized. It also make it very easy for my boss.  But when she walks away, she has a very clear expectation of when work will be done and why it is prioritized they way it is. This sets expectations very clearly for both myself and that person.

This is important because usually that person has little idea of what other projects or tasks that I have to complete. I have little idea of her priorities.  Now we have discussed it and both have a better understanding of each others’ worlds.

I want to be clear that I am not advocating sharing confidential information that might be involved in your work.  But if your task is to determine benefits for employees for next year, that is very helpful for other people to know so that they understand that a reimbursement for $28 is not your highest priority.

Another advantage to transparency is that anyone from your team can immediately help out with any of your tasks or vice versa. With the work clearly outlined, it is no trouble at all for team members to assist one another to help customers.

Another significant benefit of transparency is accountability.  If people know what I’m working on and I know what other people are working on that makes it very easy to where the buck stops. And since you are doing one heck of a great job, it means people see all the work you do.  That only adds to appreciation for each other and the jobs you do.

As far as I am concerned, there is no downside to transparency. The more you share the more you can help and be helped by other people. The more your function as a team and the better job you will do.

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day

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