Wise Words on Transparency

Michelle Boule writes about her FPOW:

The introduction leads me right into the first issue: lack of transparency. One of the most frustrating things about this issue was that my administration was usually under the impression they were being transparent. As long as things looked ok from the top they must be ok. The problem was often a communication breakdown somewhere on the totem pole and the people on the bottom are rarely asked if everything is actually going OK. When you have an organization of any kind that is large, transparency is hard simply because it must travel through level after level of employees. We did receive meeting minutes from all the managerial type meetings, but they were bulleted lists of decisions and explained nothing about the why. I am not asking for a tome, but if the decision effects my work or me, I want to know why certain things were decided, not just the outcome.

Transparency can be a hit or miss affair. Sometimes things were handled fabulously. I think our original Strategic Directions process was very transparent with information coming out in many different formats and with many opportunities for participation from the library. However, I am sure there are differing opinions about it from someone who was displeased with the flow of information. Transparency is sometimes about perspective.

Transparency was even more complex when it involved a mistake or something was not going quite right. Then everyone was talking about it, except all the managers, and we peons were all left wondering why no one would just own up. The first step is admitting you have a problem. The second is actually addressing the issue.

Read the whole post for her description of how new ideas were handled. I think one of the best things a manager or administrator could do is own up to a mistake, take responsibility and fix it. That goes a million miles farther than passing the buck.

Thanks for the incredible view into your FPOW, Michelle!

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One thought on “Wise Words on Transparency”

  1. Thanks, Michael.

    That was a hard post to write. I wanted to be honest without being too snarky. What, me snarky? Never!

    I wish I would have been able to be more transparent while I was there and not just after the fact, but not every library is ready for a self examination (though they should be).

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