Supply Chain Solutions No.43 – Transparency creates Trust

Limiting transparency and creating silos due to distrust is a standard management approach when been protective.  But is this doing more harm than good?

The other evening, I had dinner with a former employee, he mentioned recently joining a new organisation in a management position.  He expressed the trials he is facing due to limited process transparency, peers and colleagues keeping information close to their chest making it hard to learn about the business and navigate what seems to be murky waters.

Why are the murky waters difficult to see through?

The company has gone through a period of fraud where certain senior individuals created favourable situations resulting in a cash windfall, which was something they had no right to do leaving the owners in a state of disbelief once found.  Unfortunately, the resulting team change created silos limiting the amount of information and control anyone individual would have within the organisation.

A silo management structure then drives individuals to protect what knowledge they have to remain relevance by not sharing.  What is left, is a fragmented structure with little communication resulting in zero transparency.

Zero transparency leads to trust challenges, leadership doesn’t trust the teams, team leaders don’t trust their peers and direct reports.  The resulting brick walls are steadily built, once made become harder to knock down potentially getting bigger and bigger.

Unfortunately, this story is a familiar one amongst smaller organisations in China who have had to fight for what they are now, but having a limited point of difference in their business to prevent imitation leaves them venerable.  The unwillingness to share creates segregation, isolation, and groups that are not focused on a standard vision.

Anna Liu commented recently on a post “Transparency demands honesty. Honesty creates clarity.  Clarity allows improvement.   A society lacking in all of the above weakens and corruption of process and people results.”

Situations occur, harvesting distrust creates more problems than what they are worth.  As Anna Liu’s comments, the ensuing result is a lack of clarity, no improvement and in most cases a decline rather than an increase in productivity.

An excellent relationship comes from sharing; sharing builds trust, honesty, clarity, direction and acceptance.

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