Accountability

Transparency: Are You Actively Aware?

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By Stephanie Angelo, High Stakes Mastermind Groups and Roger Wolkoff, All About Authenticity

Part 2 of a two-part series.

Definition

You would think that defining transparency would be easy. Like many things, it depends on context. The Oxford dictionary tells us that one definition is “having thoughts feelings or motives that are easily perceived.”

It’s not what you might think it means, and it’s not all positive. But maybe you already knew that. Consider this from John Hall:

“When you’re transparent, you invite trust by revealing that you have nothing to hide. You establish yourself as an honest, credible person in the eyes of others. The prospect of being open and vulnerable may make you nervous, but the digital revolution has made transparency a matter of survival.” Source: LinkedIn “Expose Yourself: The Importance of Being Transparent”, Feb 3, 2014, John Hall

Interestingly, if you Google “transparent” or “what does it mean to be transparent” you’ll find that a number of people deem transparency as a negative trait.  To them it means not having a filter and being poor liars.

However, as Hall points out, transparency predominantly is a good trait. We concur and to us that means allowing oneself to be read by others, giving others the opportunity to censor inner thoughts and feelings.

It pays to be transparent up front, not only in our personal relationships, certainly in business relationships as well.  For example, in 2000 Microsoft reached a $97 million settlement in a lawsuit that was originally filed in December 1992.  Microsoft had hired workers as temps, kept them for a year or more and did not provide them with regular permanent employee benefits.  A costly lesson, to be sure.

 

Transparency and Fear

Consider the role fear plays in transparency. “Transparency is moving past fear so we can truly connect with others…” So says Sam Andrews, who dubs herself The Creative Minimalist (theminimalistcreative.net). We think about fear every day. What we do with our fear, how we face it, that’s the true rub right there, isn’t it?

“Transparency is all about decluttering the fear that separates us from other human beings.” More wisdom from Sam, whom we believe is onto something with her “decluttering” metaphor.

Talk about fear – true fear; in 1982 The Chicago Tylenol Murders were a series of poisoning deaths resulting from drug tampering in the Chicago metropolitan area.  The drug’s manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson, received highly positive coverage for its handling of the situation.  They didn’t hesitate to be transparent, take ownership, and action. An article in The Washington Post said, “Johnson & Johnson has effectively demonstrated how a major business ought to handle a disaster”.   Co-writer Stephanie remembers “Even though it was someone’s deliberate action to access the drug and lace it with Cyanide, and not Johnson & Johnson’s doing, they took immediate responsibility”.

Transparency is not hiding behind something from something, or fear.

 

A fitting story

When transparency works, it works well. Early in his career, co-writer, Roger had a manager who personified transparency. Everyone knew where Sue stood on business decisions, her thoughts on new products, and opinions on marketing. She was the same with her direct reports. Anyone could tell within minutes of meeting Sue that transparency was part of her character, her authentic self.  It had a positive and lasting effect  on those who worked with Sue.

As a Mastermind group facilitator, Stephanie notes that we also see transparency at work in Mastermind groups. We make the case that the success of the group and its participants depends on the individual contributor’s willingness to be transparent not only with the group, but also with themselves. The two go hand-in-hand. Typically, in a Mastermind, you ask the group to help you and hold you accountable for actions you otherwise might not do. The very nature of the group asks us to stretch ourselves, push our limits, and put ourselves into often-times uncomfortable situations. When we venture outside our comfort zones, we are being transparent, and we are being vulnerable.

Transparency is trust. We think, “When I open up to you, I trust that you won’t hurt me”. And the same is true when you are open with me. The social construct of transparency is like a bunch of people standing around the pool waiting for the first one to jump in and report back how the water is. We’re happy when someone makes the first move. We’re willing to follow them when they tell us, “come on in, the water’s fine.” It’s the same when we interact with others. We’re happy when someone makes the first move. We gauge how much they’re willing to open up before deciding how much we’ll reveal about ourselves.

 

Call to Action

What are we to do with all this information then when it comes to transparency?

Two specific actions to add to your toolkit:

  1. Social contract: Honor the Social Contract; the implicit agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for social benefits.
  2. Legal contracts: Honor them. In cases, like Microsoft as an employer, or you, as a consultant, contractor, employee, or whatever you may be, do the right thing. Skirting around the law is bad for everyone.

At the end of the day, the notion of transparency comes down to choice. How much you give is what you can expect to get. We’re not saying it’s easy. However, nothing worth having is ever easy is it?

 

Stephanie Angelo SPHR, SHRM-SCP helps companies attract, train and retain employees with keynotes and training focused on company culture of Traction not Transaction. To bring Stephanie to your organization or event, visit https://StephanieAngelo.com , email Stephanie@StephanieAngelo.com , or call (480) 646-2400.  Have questions about joining High Stakes Mastermind Groups?  www.HighStakesMastermimdGroups.com

Roger Wolkoff will help you discover how emotional intelligence paired with authenticity improves communication, ups productivity, and positively influences culture. Visit https://www.rogerwolkoff.com to connect with Roger and work with him to help you deliver results and grow your bottom line. Roger is a keynote motivational speaker and author from Madison, Wisconsin.

 

Sources:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Tylenol_murders&ved=2ahUKEwiu3MrOtIrkAhUfHzQIHTC_BucQFjAFegQIBRAB&usg=AOvVaw2TLwUTY80hXNVP-90fXwc2

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/13/business/technology-temp-workers-at-microsoft-win-lawsuit.html&ved=2ahUKEwjr14iXtYrkAhV0OX0KHa-jAakQFjAGegQIAhAB&usg=AOvVaw3zVwutV98MJCCd9AP3BaR7

 

 

Accountability Partners

Sweet! Power of Shared Experiences

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Photo by Charisse Kenion

Does it help you to know that potentially hundreds of other people are also reading this newsletter? What you’re doing is sharing an experience even though you’re not sharing it together. Studies have shown that people who experience something alone experience it at a different level as when they are actually sharing it with other people at the exact same time.

“…in another recent Psychological Science study that found that sharing experiences—even with a complete stranger—makes people rate those experiences as more intense than people who underwent them alone. In that experiment, students reported liking a square of 70-percent dark chocolate more when they ate it at the same time as another study participant. They said the chocolate was more “flavorful” than those who ate it alone. This holds for negative experiences, too: Those who ate a square of 90-percent dark chocolate—shown in pre-tests to be unpleasant—rated it as less tasty when they ate it at the same time as someone else.” The Importance of Sharing Experiences, Olga Khazan Oct. 16, 2014

One of the extraordinarily powerful aspects of being in a mastermind group is that although each individual member is dealing with their own experiences based on the business that they own, or the company in which they work, the fact that they are discussing these elements together helps them share the experience of assisting one another to accomplish goals, resolve issues and realize future plans.

It hasn’t mattered whether this takes place during the in-person meetings or the virtual groups. They all continue to be powerful, robust meaningful and successful. I’m excited to say that in May we will be having our first-ever retreat. Besides a full working agenda, we have lots of fun planned too. And I can’t wait to let one of our members loose in the kitchen – the foodie in the group who has volunteered to be our chef!

Is there something missing for you that can be resolved by being a member of a Mastermind group? Contact me for an exploratory conversation to see what this could do for you. We have a Virtual Mastermind group launching on March 19th. Registration closes February 24th. Could this be the group for you? How would your life improve if you could share experiences with people who understand you, “walk in your shoes” too, and is facilitated by an experienced group leader who will ensure that you are heard every time and tracking to accomplish your goals?

Being in a Mastermind is one of the most powerful and life changing experiences you can ask for. And sometimes it does include chocolate!

Accountability

Naked and Unafraid- The Benefits of Being Vulnerable in Your Mastermind Group

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Photo by Alex Pasarelu

You are thinking of joining, a High-Stakes Mastermind Group for several reasons. Maybe you’re a business owner who wants to bounce ideas off of other professionals. Perhaps you want to be able to associate with others who experience the same professional, personal and social challenges and sacrifices that you do in your field. Or maybe you are looking to build your personal network of support and confidants.  Whatever your reason, you should do one thing once you’ve joined the group. You should be completely honest and allow yourself to be vulnerable.

Why would you want to show your true self, with all of your challenges and weaknesses to other people? Won’t they stop respecting you so much? The answer is no. You want to be completely honest and vulnerable with your fellow members, and especially your Mastermind group facilitator, because that is the only way that they can help you diagnose any issues and help you improve to become the very best person and professional that you can be. This is the safe place to be emotionally naked.

Think about it – if they don’t know what the problem is, how can they give the advice that you’ve joined the group for?

Remember each member is in the same position.  You may feel like they’re holding your emotional cards – but you’re holding theirs as well.

In the blog by William Butler, The Benefits of Being Vulnerable he writes:

Risking vulnerability allows you to be, or have:

  • deeper degree of honesty
  • greater degree of transparency
  • higher level of understanding
  • deeper relationships
  • honestly yourself
  • less defensive
  • less lonely than that of isolation
  • more accountable
  • more courageous
  • more sensitive and tenderhearted
  • truly human

Source: http://www.williambutler.ca/2013/09/power-vulnerable/

There’s something extremely freeing about being vulnerable and releasing the weight of your most stressful business decisions, confusing questions, and untried ideas. It humanizes all of us to let down our guards and be…well, human.

What may look like the weakest form of humanness is actually what takes the most strength – vulnerability.

In her TED Talk Brené Brown said, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

Your time is precious. Clearly, you’ve joined a Mastermind group to get something out of it. Get the most out of it by allowing yourself to be vulnerable – emotionally naked and unafraid. That’s how you can help others to help you.