When Transparency Reflects “Stinkin’ Thinkin'”

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With all due kudos to Zig Ziglar, this post is more opinion and observation than it is anything else. I have no professional experience or education in either of the subject areas. What I am is pragmatic. I look at the world, evaluate it’s condition, and take the steps I deem necessary to deal with it. I see a lot of folks talking today about the importance of being transparent. I hear that, in order to be successful particularly with social media, transparency is a must.

That’s all well and fine but, do some of us take this too far? Are we, in our quest for transparency, doing ourselves and those around us more harm than good? Does this need to be transparent translate to “unabashed and unbridled honesty in all things”? For some, it apparently does. I’m all for honesty but there has to be some limits ….

  1. I am not going to tell my prospective client that I haven’t sold anything all year and am hoping that he can break that curse.
  2. I will not tell my employees that we are on the verge of bankruptcy and are being sued by several of our vendors for monies owed.
  3. I am not about to proclaim to the world that business is so bad that I’m thinking of closing up shop, moving to Tibet, and becoming a monk.
  4. I will never tell my wife that “Yes, you look fat in that dress.” (smile)

Whatever happened to the power of positive thinking? As you think you will become? Positive visualization? Do we still lead those around us or do we beg for their indulgence during these difficult times? You can be honest, you can be transparent, but you don’t have to be stupid. Your stinkin’ thinkin’ will get you and yours to exactly that place that you are envisioning. I’m pretty confident in making that prediction.

Neither am I one for unbounded enthusiasm. I am not a rah rah kind of guy. In fact, I am suspicious of others who are always so damn happy and positive. Hey, times are tough and nobody can be that happy (smile). Still, as tough as times are, I for one count my blessings. I have my health, my family, my friends, and I can pay my bills which is a hell of a lot more than many others have this day. My glass is not always half full but it’s pretty rare that you will ever find it to be half empty either.

A friend of mine recently expressed that it seemed that despite his best efforts, luck was passing him by. Judging by other recent comments, he’s feeling pretty down right now. The worst part is, this person is tremendously talented. The harder he works (and he is a hard worker) the luckier he will get. His efforts and hard work will convert those opportunities into tangible business. Is he being transparent? Since I can see past his underwear to his feelings, I would have to guess “yes”. Do I also see stinkin’ thinkin’ at work? With all due respect, I do. If nothing else, it does give others that perception.

Fact is, I like honesty but I don’t like the word transparency. I feel that it is overused, misunderstood, improperly or poorly implemented by most, and does more harm than it does good. You can be honest in all things (except item #4 above) and still lead and motivate others as well as yourself. “You know folks, business is tough right now but I know that with your help and talents we can turn this around. Let’s all talk about what we can do as a team to get though this together.  And, we will get through this together.”

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Author: Craig M. Jamieson

Craig M. Jamieson is a lifelong B2B salesperson, manager, owner, and a networking enthusiast. Adaptive Business Services provides solutions related to the sales professional including Boise's best B2B leads groups, NetWorks! Boise Valley. We are a Nimble SCRM and a HootSuite Solution Partner and a Value Added Associate for TTI Performance Systems. Craig also conducts training and workshops primarily in social selling.