In 2014, Whole Foods was hit with a lawsuit for not properly labeling products as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Transparency quickly became a high priority for the company. The USDA now requires food manufacturers to disclose the presence of bioengineered ingredients by January 1, 2022. Whole Foods hopes that by making this commitment to GMO transparency, it will encourage industry-wide transparency, with manufacturers and distributors asking the questions that need to be asked.
Throughout history, the lack of transparency between parties has led to business failures, wars, broken relationships and more. Without transparent communication, a solid relationship is not possible simply because there are no foundations upon which to build trust.
Project managers continually interact with their team members and stakeholders. The key to instilling a trustful and productive working relationship is to maintain total transparency, right from the start. Unplanned issues may bring projects behind schedule. New factors will arise to impact budgets. But sharing all of this information in real-time, with those who need to know it, is the best policy. There’s no such thing as good or bad news.
Unplanned factors are impacting the original project plans, which might affect deadlines, budget, or represent other undesirable revelations. How do you maintain a productive relationship with team members and/or stakeholders for whom this information is unwelcome?
From the beginning, maintain open transparency in all factors impacting the project, keeping stakeholders in the loop on emerging challenges. Engage team members to proactively address challenges where solutions can be found more rapidly through a collective effort.
- Take the emotion out of it and don’t try to avoid telling bad news or fixate on who should know
- Adopt a consistent, transparent and open meeting policy, with no sidebar ‘damage control’ meetings
- Maintain regular communication with stakeholders, whether progress is going well or not
- Transparency builds trust; trust will allow stakeholders to empower you
- Share all information with all team member, don’t select what people get to see