Transparency vs. Too Much Information

Transparency has been the hot-button word since the emergence of social media, but is there such a thing as giving out too much information?

Case and point: I went to St. Lucia a few months ago (be very jealous), and when we were waiting to board our plane, a man’s voice came over the speaker system at the airport and said,

“Ladies and gentlemen, we are ready to board the flight, but we are waiting on an employee who is apparently running late to work. Once that employee arrives, we’ll resume as normal.”

Did he just throw a fellow employee under the bus? And more importantly, what does that say about the company?

To make matters worse, a handful of us ended up arriving to our destination two hours late and missing our connecting flight. Although the customers knew exactly why it happened, it still didn’t leave us good feelings about the airline’s team unity and overall mission.

Don’t misunderstand me; I’m a strong advocate for transparency in local government and any organization, but there are instances where it can cross the line of giving out unnecessary information.

Imagine if the man at the airport had instead chosen to say,

“Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the delay. We are working to ensure that all employees are in place to maximize customer service and safety during your flight.”

The same information was told, but it was aimed at a different motive and outlook, which makes all the difference.

No matter what, you always want to put your organization’s best foot forward. Even when things go wrong, you want to let your audience know that you’re working towards a solution.

So the next time you’re giving out information, consider if it’s necessary and if it’s enforcing your organization’s goal, mission, and values. It’s definitely an art, but like everything else in life, practice makes perfect.

Hope Boyd
Written by:
Hope Boyd
Director of Communications, Strategic Government Resources

2 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Bright Blue Line and commented:
    In policing, the balance between providing the public with information and maintaining appropriate confidentiality is a constant challenge. This post, shares great information.

  2. […] and goals in mind at the same time. I think this concept is perfectly summed up in this article, Transparency vs. Too Much Information. There is a certain way of positioning yourself without revealing too many secrets. I think this […]

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