One of the new buzzwords of the Obama Era is "transparency." According to wikipedia:

~ Transparency, when used in a social context, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparent procedures include open meetings, financial disclosure statements, the freedom of information legislation, etc.

In government, then, transparency means "that the business of government and state administration should be opened at all levels to effective public scrutiny and oversight."

Seems like a good idea to me.

Thanks to consultant Stephen Gill at the Employee Engagement Network, I came across a podcast about transparency in a corporate context.

It's an interview with Paul Levy, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who was facing a huge problem, a $20 million dollar deficit. He could have solved this problem by firing 600 people. But he did something else.

He openly shared the problem with his entire organization, inviting all employees to engage with the problem and submit ideas.

As Gill wrote: "Being transparent with employees and involving them in solving the problem resulted in being able to dramatically reduce the number of layoffs that he had initially anticipated."

Here is a true model of 21st century leadership.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, April 24, 2009


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