Transparency begins with listening

Transparency is an important part of open government, governance of any organisation, leadership and interpersonal relationships.

Transparency is the state where what goes on in government, an organisation, management or just in the world of an individual is freely discernible to those who are being governed or otherwise affected. One challenge with transparency is that it is almost impossible to let anyone know anything meaningful about yourself, unless the others have some reason to listen to you and you are able to express yourself in a language that they understand. Both of these require some kind of relationship with the people you would like to be transparent with.

Almost paradoxically, the first step towards transparency is listening — tuning in to the world of the others, those “stakeholders”, so that their world becomes a little more transparent to us. Only if we do that, might they begin to develop a little trust in us. Only then might we begin to learn how they make sense of the world, so we can let them in on our world in terms that are meaningful to them. Only then might they take a little interest in our world, so that we can tell them a thing or two, then listen some more, taking one step in an oh-so-slow iterative trust-building process.