From keeping a secret to “trust falls” there’s no shortage of ways to get people to trust you. Not all methods may be practical for a business (especially not trust falls) so here at UserVoice we’ve devised a very simple tool to be a trustworthy operation: transparency. To us, transparency means that when we make a mistake we swallow our pride and say so. If an idea isn’t viable we respectfully decline. It sounds easy right? It isn’t.
Even we aren’t always as transparent as we should be (yes, I realize the irony in being transparent about not being transparent). This isn’t because we are intentionally pulling the wool over our employees’ eyes but because, in startup culture, things move very quickly and there isn’t a lot of time to catch everyone up.
For instance, we have a new feature coming up that some of the team had been working on intensely but that other parts of the team only had a cursory knowledge of. The problem wasn’t that we didn’t believe in our team. We did. The problem was that when employees (and customers) know when something is being hidden. It doesn’t sit right.
It all goes to show that there’s no such thing as being too aware of transparency. It’s like relationships – it only works if everyone is honest with everyone else. Being honest doesn’t mean bringing things up when convenient, it means making the effort to come forward with the information. I’ll let our Head of Community, Evan Hamilton close us out: “Feeling like you’re out of the loop is one of the most frustrating things ever. Lack of transparency can create a lot of problems. Telling the truth almost always creates happy people and more functional relationships. It’s hard, but worth it.”
Photo courtesy of Terry Johnston.