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Is Transparency a Buzzword?

Is Transparency a Buzzword?

December 09, 2009

I’ve seen some recent rants about transparency being nothing more than a buzzword. The implication being, transparency is just a trendy fad. It got me wondering if it’s true. So I looked up the word buzzword in the dictionary. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a buzzword is:

1. an important sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning used to chiefly to impress laymen

2. a voguish word or phrase

So, is it possible that transparency could be a buzzword? Yep.

But I think the more important question is – should it be a buzzword? And, the answer is no.

Whether you look internally or externally in our organizations, trust is at an all time low. If companies want the trust of their customers and employees, they will have to demonstrate a willingness to be transparent. Meaning they will have to do it with actions.

Being transparent isn’t a simple declaration. Organizations who are transparent don’t write memos that say, “In an effort to be transparent…” or start sentences with “In order to be transparent…” They just understand the need to be open, honest and trustworthy and they conduct themselves in a transparent manner.

I hope for the sake of our businesses and economic recovery, transparency isn’t a buzzword or a trend. I hope it becomes a standard, an expectation, and, for individuals, a lifestyle. Let’s not render the benefits of transparency ineffective or lessen its importance by labeling it a buzzword. Let’s just hold people accountable for practicing it.

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