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Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Transparency?

Did the exposure of the thousands of documents revealing the private negotiations of very sensitive and delicate positions among world leaders advance our world or set it back?

Today we read about the massive discloser of heretofore secret documents
outlining backroom diplomacy. All around us we here calls for more
transparency. In corporate governance Congress and the SEC are
requiring companies to reveal more about their strategy and pay
practices. In government we are expecting everything to be open and
transparent. Soon the Supreme Court will hear a case as to whether
certain information can be exempt under privacy protection for
corporations.

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While I am generally in favor of transparency and believe in the notion
that anything I do should be able to be printed on the front page of the
New York Times, or as friend of mine likes to say, “what would your
grandmother say if she knew about it,” I also have learned that
sometimes open transparency could hinder progress.

I had the great fortune of being the PTA president of my daughters
elementary school one year and so got involved with the board of
Trustees of the school district on a number of local issues. I once
asked why the board couldn’t reach consensus on a certain issue? Why
they just didn’t get together and discuss it among themselves in private
to work out the differences among board members? That is when I
discovered the Brown Act in California. The act, in the name of
transparency, requires that any meeting of more than two officials must
be down in the public forum – no more backroom politics.

No wonder nothing can get done. Where is the place for face saving
negotiations. IF everything I say is said in public then can I we ever
get beyond the public image and rhetoric? Did the exposure of the
thousands of documents revealing the private negotiations of very
sensitive and delicate positions among world leaders advance our world
or set it back?

Is there such a thing as too much transparency? What do you think?

Norman Wolfe
President/CEO
Quantum Leaders, Inc.
Executing Strategy

http://www.QuantumLeaders.com
http://www.QuantumLeadersBlog.com
http://QuantumTwitter.com
http://QuantumYouTube.com
http://QuantumFacebook.com

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About the author

Throughout his professional career as a Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Director, and Advisor to CEOs, Norman Wolfe has successfully guided corporations through major transitions leading to substantial growth, market expansion and enhanced financial performance. Currently, he is the Chairman and CEO of Quantum Leaders, a leading edge consulting company guiding boards and CEOs to improve strategy execution

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