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On being more open…

Openness is something I’ve been experimenting with personally for a while now. In relationships with family and friends I’ve been noticing how the more open and vulnerable I’m able to be, the more our connection strengthens and my openness is met with genuine emotion and communication. The communication we have when we are completely open is not always easy, often its too real, messy and difficult but when we persevere it brings us closer together in greater understanding.
I’ve noticed that bringing openness into my professional life has created some interesting results too. Being transparent on pricing creates more trust in client relationships. Being open with clients about our processes and methodologies helps mutual understanding and enables us to collaborate more successfully.
Being open with the team has enabled all of us to bring our whole selves to work, our talents, our interests, our passions. All of these things feed into our creative cross pollination process and help to make us more innovative and forward thinking. We deal with conflict and disputes openly and always with the understanding that our purpose is to listen, understand and in turn create even more openness in the way we connect and form a community. When we struggle we receive support and we celebrate when life is good.
Openness is important to me, it’s how I want to live, communicate, and how I believe the world should work. It’s also what I hope describes the future of business, and marks out a roadmap to get to sustainable development, engagement, innovation and performance. It’s how we can create profit, ethically.
This much I know: that change is constant, uncertain, unavoidable. We live in a world where our lives take place as much online as they do in person so we are always at risk of disconnecting and becoming emotionally as well as physically remote. Everything exists in real-time and there are few moments to stop and reflect. But human relationships remain central to our happiness, our ability to function, and to feel like we belong. Families, communities, teams and organisations work better like that, because the people in them tend to give a damn about the consequences of their actions. When we embrace openness and transparency in our lives and in business we become more accountable, leaner, more effective. We spot bumps in the road a lot quicker (and deal with them too). Its not foolproof but it’s a better way. This is what I want to explore here, so I’m laying out my stall and starting the conversation. Let’s talk about openness…

8 Comments

  1. Walter Jaquiss

    An interesting observation that openness in yourself and your private life naturally leads to openness at work. And is successful.
    Do you really think this works?
    In entertainment, we have so much secrecy surrounding people’s wages, I’ve often wondered what it would be like if everyone knew what everyone’s rates were, from musicians to crew, from management to publishers.
    Definitely worth a discussion….

    1. Claudie

      I agree and its a really important point. You can’t just introduce radical transparency to a team or organisation without building a culture of trust, communication and accountability alongside it. One without the other will generally create more problems than it solves. There also need to be explicit shared values and agreed behaviours, so that a conversation around (for example) why one person is paid more than another becomes an open exchange where if there are differentials it can be made clear where they are tied to relative performance, hours, value to the team or market rate, and negotiation is possible (or not considering the criteria). It doesn’t stop people getting pissed off, but does open up the possibility of more dialogue and accountability, both from leadership, who become more accountable to the team as a result of the transparency, and vice versa.

  2. Jude

    Thanks for articulating the link between open pricing and trust. I recently had a conversation with an organisation about their membership fees where I was told “the reason we don’t put our pricing online is because then people like you try to negotiate.” Had I not been locked into joining for other reasons, that would have been me off to search the rest of the open market…

  3. Sarah

    I agree about the idea of openness requiring pacing within teams, organisations and also us as individuals. To learn to balance the courage needed with the empathy required to be authentically open and kind is an art that seems to me to take a lifetimes practice. One step at a time :-)

    1. Claudie

      I think all of this stuff needs to be seen as a continuous practice, not as a single fix. It takes awareness and commitment and a genuine desire to build relationships in order to work. And even then its rarely foolproof.

  4. Rohit Talwar

    Wonderfully clear, elegant and powerful stuff Claudie. This strikes to the heart of the challenges I think and feel we face – socially, economically, politically and commercially. One of the things I constantly bang on about is that governments need to be a lot more open to debate about the possible consequences of the research they are funding. E.g. if we are funding investigations into radical life extension and artificial enhancement of our cognitive and physical abilities, then we really ought to be open with the public about it and debate how society wants to handle the consequences – whether it be people living to 150 or more, genetic modification to change our behaviour or physical enhancement to make us stronger and faster.

    Openness would be key to ensuring these advances don’t come as shock to society when they come to market.

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