In business, “Transparency” is a word that can mean many things to many people: openness, frankness, honesty, straightforwardness, forthrightness, sincerity, outspokenness, and accountability among other definitions. In my case, it means, “Meet the real me.”
For all of those who know me, you know I’m always wearing my heart on my sleeve. The Art that you see is the Art that you get.
But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across a fellow professional wearing his or her “human shield.”
Here’s the typical conversation:
Me: “How’s it going?”
Other Person: “Great!”
Me: “How’s business?
Other Person: “Couldn’t be doing better!”
Me: “You know, we have this small professional group that gets together for breakfast once a month to have a frank discussion about issues that affect us all. I love it, because we learn so much from each other. When it boils down, we all run into similar problems, and it’s nice to get the perspective from someone who’s already doing something about it. The next meeting is this coming Tuesday. Maybe you’d like to join us?”
Other Person: No, I think I’m good. I’ve got it all under control.”
Being in business is definitely a journey. Being transparent in business is what defines people’s humanness, and makes the trip much more enjoyable.
I’d like to share with you some of steps I put in motion throughout my day that make my transparency journey more enjoyable.
The Power of Being Honest
Honesty can be a double-edged sword. Mastering how to use it, is a life-long commitment. It requires polishing it with empathy and diplomacy, and it is not meant for hurting, or damaging anyone.
To me, being honest with myself and others means delivering my words and my actions with purpose. I do not pretend to be who I am not, and I do not sugarcoat any situation. When facing a challenge or difficult situation, I like to deal with it in a straightforward manner, with patience and resolve, considering all possible solutions, and working towards a positive resolution.
Goals and Expectations
In business, everything centers around clear communication. Whether handling a mortgage process for a client, leading the music worship group at church, or organizing an event, I make sure everyone involved (including myself) has a clear understanding of what we hope to achieve, what needs to be done in order to achieve it, when it needs to be achieved, and what will be reaped from it upon achieving it.
Trust and Accountability
Without a doubt, these are two of the biggest motivators that keep me transparent. I am accountable to myself and to others, and I know myself, and for a fact, people can trust me.
Trust and accountability play a big role in any team—even in a team of 2. Being able to listen to each other, respect and consider others’ opinions, appreciate and recognize their contributions, and be okay with what is good for the good of all (not just for the good of one or the good of some), is what ignites trust and accountability.
Leading by Example
Yes, I’m Art Wood the man, the son, the husband, the father, and the friend. But I’m also Art Wood, the brand. “Do as I say, don’t do as I do,” is not part of my vocabulary. Building trust around my personal brand depends on my commitment to my words and actions.
But let’s face it, things are going to happen, and when they do, I take the blame. And when credit is due, I am sure to pass it on.
At the End of the Day, I’m Just Like Anyone Else
I believe humility should take center stage in anything we do. As they saying goes, “I put my pants on one leg at the time.” And so does everyone else. Humility makes us better humans and better listeners, as we switch the focus from “me” to “them.”
Lack of transparency is probably one of the biggest culprits for ineffective business. Quoting the Dalai Lama, “Lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.”
So I encourage you to be “Real Bob,” or the “Real Susan.” Break out of the shield, and strive to be human in anything you do.
Art Wood is Branch Manager, NMLS #118234, for Legacy Mortgage Team at Goldwater Bank in Tucker, GA. He is also the founder and organizer of Fuse Networking, a Metro Atlanta professional networking community, and music worship leader at Tucker United Methodist Church. Art is available at email@example.com.