/Can a company really be transparent?

Can a company really be transparent?

Transparency is one of the main rules of a 2.0 company. Nevertheless, it is not always posible to be transparent. The more open you become, the more you can get hurt. The more information you give about your company, the more constrained you get by those data you are revealing. And in a corporate area, you have to be careful, as law is not always with you. So, where do you put the border?

These are the main advantages of being transparent in an organization/company:
– Internal collaboration: Employees get the “story”, so they can also get involved.
– Marketing: Customers, press and would-be employees get informed and they happen to like it.
– The company: talking about oneself does always help to know oneself better. So it can become one of the ways of improving.
– Competition: if they get to know you very well, they might become allies more than enemies.

But there are also many disadvantages:
– Marketing: internal information is not always good. There are some data that you’d better hide.
– Employees: can you really reveal everybody’s salary? Many people might not like it. I’ve always thought that many people work because they have fun (me) but many others work mainly because of the money. That’s it. You can not avoid it.
– Competition: the more information you give to them, the easier it is for them to compete with you.
– The future: some things you say now could become a problem in the future, as somebody could use them against you.

So this is my advice:
– Blog mainly about positive things. Mainly means not always. If you want to be credible, you need to say some not so nice things from time to time. Anyway, it is very important to show passion about what you are doing.
– Blog at the beginning. When you are launching a company there is not much to hide. Just tell what you are doing. It’s fun and you will get people around the company from the very beginning.
– Blog about the future. What concerns you? What challenges are you facing? This is interesting stuff, and people will love to help you taking the right decision.
– Open an internal wiki and try to select one thing every 2-weeks wich could be open sourced. This is a good exercise.
– Don’t give too many data about finances. This is a very delicate subject and, in fact, most of the people won’t really understand it.
– Blog about the interesting people you meet in your company work, but ask them permission before you do so.
– Blog the business plan. In fact, most business plans are done to show them. So don’t worry so much about opening it. Don’t be afraid that anybody could steal your idea. Ideas are not worth so much any more.