Truth and Transparency

There’s been a lot of talk about corporations and government
being more transparent.  As a result, the use of the word transparency
is creeping into our business vocabulary.  But before you start tossing
out the word “transparency” it’s important to understand what it means.

I think a lot of people are using transparency has a synonym for
truth.  If I’m telling the truth, then I’m being transparent.  I
contend that the relationship between truth and transparency is similar
to the relationship between reliability and validity as it relates to

If an
instrument is valid, then it’s reliable.  But if something is reliable,
that doesn’t mean it’s valid.  Case in point:  you can be consistently

So my thought is, if you’re transparent then you are truthful. 
However, telling the truth doesn’t make you transparent.  Here’s an

An 8 oz. glass is filled with 4 oz. of wine.  You can say that glass
is half-full or half-empty (depending upon your disposition).  Both
would be the truth.

Transparency is saying there’s 4 oz. of wine in the glass.

It’s a simplistic example, but you get the point.  Transparency
implies openness, communication and personal accountability.  It’s not
only telling the truth but providing access to all the data and
encouraging inclusiveness in the decision making process.

For many individuals and businesses, transparency is and will
continue to be difficult to achieve.  There’s a tendency to spin
situations for positive outcomes.  The demand to act in a transparent
manner requires people to hold themselves accountable for information
they receive.  It’s becomes their responsibility to share it, discuss
it and help others understand it.

We need to push to make sure the “knowledge is power” and “need to
know” concepts are gone forever.  It’s time to take transparency