We just celebrated 4th of July, Independence Day! The sacred, all American holiday where we celebrate our God given right, freedom. Freedom of governance of life, and our personal liberty. One of our most cherished freedoms, our right to privacy, resides on an ever-changing playing field.
Sometimes I think we cling to the myth of total privacy in a hyper-connected, global society. It is not that we don’t enjoy any privacy. We do. And I for one, truly being a pretty private person (seriously, I’m a juxtaposition upon juxtaposition), totally get it. With the innovations that have come as a result of the world wide web, information flow cannot be so controlled like it was in the past.
But, what we once guarded to keep private in organizations and personally is now out in the open. Whether you like it or not, the reality is here. And you have a few options. Either act like it’s still 1979 and try to keep everything under lock and key. Or demonstrate that you believe so much in your ability to walk the talk by embracing transparency.
One of the things I loved about the presentation from Jay at B Lab was the report card he shared of a member business. Right there, on their sleeves was the performance of the company including a rating for their Governance Practices, Worker Relations, Community Support, and Environmental Policies.
The kicker is that, most of these companies, according to the standards of our educational system, are not “passing” class. And that’s fine, in fact that’s understandable. The shifts that need to occur overall are systematic and fairly significant. Such change takes time as well as a dedication to a process of continual improvement. After all, we’re not expecting perfection, we are looking for a demonstrated commitment to the journey.
By embracing transparency, these businesses are accepting their imperfection and showing some vulnerability. And for various reasons, they’re stronger as a result. These companies are saying, “Hey we’re really dedicated to doing our best and being the best for the world. So much so that we’ll share our progress to let others verify our practices. And we’ll let you see our report card.”
That’s not to say that companies should play the game with all their cards facing out. Or communicate with reckless abandon. But to be held accountable by being transparent about their business practices is the only way we can create and uphold new standards for socially responsible enterprises.