No one likes to broadcast that they don’t know something or that they’re not totally up to the task. In fact, we go to great lengths to show the contrary. Governments have risen and fallen; lives have been devastated, and mistakes have been amplified simply because someone wasn’t humble enough to say “I don’t know.” Transparency is not a novelty accessory but a mandatory ingredient for a person of character. Our world has grown content with truth-benders and fact dodgers, but if we plan to leave a lasting legacy, it starts with the quality of transparency.
Do you remember the first time you realized your father didn’t know something? Our fathers’ ominous statures seemed bigger than life back then. Our fathers represent the first man we met. We usually stood in his shoes while he was at work, seeing how we measured up. I remember putting on my dad’s hats and shirts just to have them flop around me. He was a giant. As soon as I grew and my homework transitioned to word problems and geography, I soon reached an impasse. I heard those words, “I don’t know, ask your mother.” Instead of losing respect for him, his admission actually made me more impressed. Why? Because I learned quickly it takes real character to own up and be transparent. I didn’t call it that back then, but it was evident.
Transparency is defined “as operating in a way free from deceit and easily understood.” It stems from two Latin words meaning “easy to pass through” as in the window is so transparent the sunlight shines into the room. Think about that definition for a moment. Are your actions and attitude so clear that light passes through them? Or, do you spend most of your time covering up and hiding from exposure? I learned early on that it’s better to “under promise” and over deliver than to make excuses.
Here are some key things to remember about transparency:
• Transparency will cause stability in your relationships: Your personal, family, and business relationships will become better when you are a person of action. Relationships at their core grow or fail based on trust. Transparency shows you are a person who can be counted on, even when you are wrong.
• Transparency will set a standard for people you associate with: Nothing clears a room like the truth. If you want to know what people think about you, listen to what they say. When a person sends a clear message that he or she operates in integrity, it weeds out the foolishness in their lives. And that message must be sent!
• Transparency helps you stay in your own lane: Nothing is more embarrassing than taking on a project or person you are not equipped to handle. You’ve wasted your time and someone else’s. When you are transparent, you not only celebrate your strengths, you are aware of your weaknesses. Take on tasks that you are able to manage and leave the rest for others who may be better suited.
In recent years, we have witnessed the fall of Enron, the ponzi scams of Bernie Madoff, and hundreds of stories of public infidelity. In each case, the individuals involved refused to display transparency. It’s almost enough to make you lose faith in the human spirit. But it is good to remember that change starts with one person. Let us begin a “Transparency Revolution” today so we will have a better world tomorrow.
See you at the TOP!
© 2012, Early L. Jackson. All rights reserved.