By Kim Commins-Tzoumakas | October 29, 2018
“I find that when you open the door toward openness and transparency, a lot of people will follow you through.”
-Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
“Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
-former Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
Think about the people you like and want to be around. That friend you can share anything with and often do. The one co-worker who tells it like it is, or your friends from college who never hold anything back. These are YOUR people. Why? Well, for the closeness that comes from transparency. You trust them. You let down the wall with them. You let them in, and they do the same for you. That creates a bond that nothing can destroy.
The same happens with companies that show transparency. According to an article on Fast Company, “People trust companies who are transparent.” It’s the same closeness you feel with your friends only on a much larger scale. “Transparency engenders trust.” The article explains, “The opposite of transparency is secrecy, which only serves to erode trust.”
Robert Craven, CEO of MegaFood and guest writer on Entrepreneur, wrote about a Harvard Business School study on the concept of transparency in a restaurant. Focusing on a setting where cooks and customers can see each other during food prep and dining, the study showed a 17 percent increase in customer satisfaction and 13 percent faster service overall. So, transparency worked two ways in that situation. Not only did customers like the feeling of being a part of the process, the staff concentrated more on getting the meal done knowing customers were watching their every move.
In a recent online article from Inc, writer Rhett Power identified “7 Effective Ways to Establish Transparency in Your Business.” First on the list is the need to establish core values. One of 21st Century Oncology’s existing core values is to be transparent. Another method on Power’s list is to respond in a timely manner to consumer questions and issues. We see our patients during what we can assume is one of the worst moments of their lives. They’ve been diagnosed with cancer and look to us for answers, treatment and the truth. We owe them that and more. We owe it as quickly as we can get it to them. The final tip from Power’s is to stay open to the opinions of others. In my last blog, I discussed the importance of an atmosphere of psychological safety. We must be honest and open with each other and feel, just like those friends we are so close to, we can share anything. How else can we expect the public to see us as honest and open with them?
There’s a saying in business, “Fake it till you make it.“ But, think about the word fake, is that something you look for in a friend? Someone you wish to do business with? Fake is actually one of the worst things you can say about someone. No one wants fake people in their lives.
In the world of ready information, today’s consumer is more savvy than ever before. They want to know what there is to know. It only makes sense. If we don’t offer our customers transparency, they will seek it out on their own. Anyone with the ability to Google can search and find (My boys were able to Google before they entered grade school). Transparency is the reason why when I became CEO, I did an interview and spoke openly about our past and what I saw for our future. No smokescreens. No excuses. Just the truth. In fact, here’s a link to that article: https://www.news-press.com/story/news/2018/02/19/21st-century-oncologys-new-ceo-seeks-rehab-company-image-expand-operations/342812002/
So now I’m going to quote Mother Teresa, why not, I quoted Gandhi a couple of blogs back. The great Mother Teresa once said, “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” I love that sentiment. But also, while I think she’s right that it makes you vulnerable, it also makes you stronger. If you speak the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said. There are no versions of the truth. Honest, it truly is the best policy.
I hope to gain that trust with everyone in our One Dream Team here at 21st Century Oncology. And I plan to do it by being transparent and expecting the same from the rest of our Dream Team.
The Hug Every Day blog will offer periodic insights and guidance from the 21st Century CEO, Kim Commins-Tzoumakas. Kim is no-nonsense, but also very caring. And she is excited to have this opportunity to share her vision for 21C with you.