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David Lee King

Open Leadership on Transparency



One more post on Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead, by Charlene Li. This time on transparency.

I hear librarians talk about making the library “more transparent.” Or library staff saying “management needs to be more transparent.” What does that mean, exactly? Posting minutes from a meeting? having an “open door” policy?

I like how Charlene redefines transparency. She says (on pg. 193):

Rather than actually using the word “transparency,” which implies complete openness and candor, I prefer to describe this skill as making information and processes “visible.”

Maybe it’s just semantics, but visible makes a lot more sense to me than transparency. Transparency seems passive, visibleness seems active.

So, how does my library make our information and processes visible?

  • all our policies posted online (actually, you’d be surprised how many libraries don’t do this), as are our financial and board meeting minutes.
  • most of our website’s pages include a comment box and/or multiple ways to connect with us … and we answer those comments promptly.
  • Our weekly management meeting notes are shared with staff on our staff intranet (again, with a comment box).
  • We tend to include all levels of staff in workgroups. For example, I head a digital branch taskforce – members range from deputy directors to paraprofessionals, and pretty much everything in-between. And we share out our notes with staff.

What are ways YOU make your information and processes visible to staff and to customers?

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