Power of Transparency

Transparency deflates back-room politics at every level, from the White House to the small office.  If political snakes slither unseen in the grass, just mow the grass, forcing visibility.

Here’s an example.

Caitlin (not her real name) was art director on a dysfunctional project assigned to me in 1995.  Turned out the team was falling apart because Caitlin badmouthed other members behind their backs.  She did this privately, one-on-one, then denied it when confronted.  She gained a strange power through private accusations — everyone was angry and afraid.

The solution was simple (wish I thought of it, but the kudos go to Sam):

Get everyone on the team into one room, and force accusations to be public.  ”Caitlin, is it true you told Bonnie that Charles is dishonest?”  Caitlin, Bonnie and Charles are all sitting right there.  Caitlin now has a dilemma:  if she says “yes,” Charles can defend himself;  if she says “no,” then many in the room know she is lying.  Caitlin, in this instance, chose to lie;  her credibility vanished instantly and forever.  

Problem solved in 10 minutes.  I’ve used this many times since.  It works.  Guess that’s why the right to face your accusers is written into the Constitution.

Secret accusers, like vampires, thrive in the shadows.  Shine a bright light, and they shrivel.  


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