Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks was recently quoted by ESPN -"I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion." "I'm just telling you: Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. ."
"Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule No. 1 of business."
429 companies on the 1955 Fortune 500 list are no longer on that list.
Have you heard of Netflix? Rhetorical question. You think Blockbuster Video should have purchased them when they had the chance? Blockbuster who?
Name a company that has been dominant for last 25 years? U.S. News & World Report in their article 10 Great Companies that Lost their Edge articulates several companies that remain significant and the many that have become irrelevant.
How does this relate to transparency in business?
The internet has made everything public. Good reviews, bad reviews, spiteful former employees and grateful former employees can post to social media and go viral in minutes. In order to stay relevant, businesses must be transparent. Quality pioneers W. Edwards Deming and Kaoru Ishikawa are credited in looking at the next process as customer. Look at every step in your business process as a customer: Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing, Shipping, Customer Service, Customer Support, etc.
What does it mean to be transparent in business?
- Give Credit where Credit is Due- This is true of both internal & external processes and communications. Don't take credit for others content and ideas.
- Do not Hide Costs- Nobody is delightfully pleased at the end of the buying process when additional charges are added. Be upfront with any additional fees. Nothing like purchasing a new software package only to learn after the fact that support is not included in the price!
- Do Everything Possible to Account for All Costs when Calculating ROI- This is more difficult than you might think. I see problems with hyper-inflated results in Marketing frequently. ROI is often based on dollars spent on Advertising and Revenue generated. Maybe you should consider using gross profit dollars or subtracting fixed costs. Before investing resources into a project, use a break even calculator to validate moving forward.
- Quit using Value Add unless you can prove it- " Price is what you pay; value is what you get."- Warren Buffet. Value Add & Value Added Services are buzz words on most literature today. Which are you more likely to believe: Sales Literature or a Customer statement? Use actual customer statements or coauthor case histories with customers that include data to make the case of "Value Add".
- Demonstrate Integrity by Telling the Truth- Nobody is perfect. You are going to make mistakes with your customers- internal & external. Ignoring your mistakes will not make them go away. Apologize for your mistakes. Take the blame, don't shift it to someone else or another department. Truthfully explain why it happened and propose a remedy and actions that will prevent it from happening again. This is extremely relevant to social media posts.
Transparency in internal processes allows employees to become engaged in the process.
Transparency in external processes allows a business to obtain meaningful feedback from customers to feed continuos improvement.
Transparency encourages true partnerships with your customers.