If there is one thing the wikileaks saga has shown us, it’s that people can get very passionate about the transparency of information.
Technology is forever-increasing the level of transparency within (and between) businesses. Social networking is yet one more technological advancement that is used to share information. The rises of corporate social networking solutions, such as SocialCast or Yammer, are giving executives even more reasons to face up to the benefits/challenges of transparency.
Sharing information does not always come easily. We are often held back by our own fears; many of which are baseless. “What if someone uses the information inappropriately”, “Giving that information away will undermine my credibility”, “Will this information be leaked?”.
More often than not providing transparency provides more benefits than drawbacks. Yet, “Committing to transparency shouldn’t be confused with sharing confidential information. Rather, it means providing some insight into your thinking and considerations, so that those around you can feel involved and empowered”, says Dave Balter the founder and CEO of BzzAgent, in his HBR blog The Strategic Benefits of Transparency.
Giving way to the fears of sharing relevant information is a skill that executives must learn. Information is already being shared both wittingly and unwittingly on corporate and external social networking sites. Executives that ignore this fact are already at a disadvantage and for the die-hard control-freaks it will do nothing to reduce their stress. It’s better to work with the technology and employ practices that promote healthy information sharing habits.