Use Transparency to Clarify Problems, Build Solutions

Much has been said about the chronic need for transparency in government, on Wall Street, etc. The advocates of transparency like WikiLeaks see themselves as champions of the truth.Transparency, problems, solution focus

Transparency is an essential component of making progress in society. Some would say that a few of the champions of transparency are a bit obsessive; they become so enmeshed in proving their point as a means to an end that the ‘end’ is no longer clear.

The problem with understanding something is that it gives you the illusion that you can fix it–Hart Blanton

Similarly, those who obfuscate to prevent transparency are sustaining their need to remain opaque solely in their self-interest.

How can we use transparency and make progress in organizations?

In Solution Focus, we aim at helping people get to the solutions they want by reframing their view of the problems they face. Most problems in organizations are a construct.

Construct: (noun) an idea or theory containing various conceptual elements, typically one considered to be subjective and not based on empirical evidence Oxford dictionary

When you are looking for the root cause of a problem by pressing for transparency you may never see the end of the analysis, and it often results in assessing blame.

A transparency problem ‘construct’ points at blame vs. solutions.

It defeats transparency. So, understand the problem, just don’t enter into it.

Instead, focus on transparency in order to clarify what needs to get better and build solutions.

A solution focus perspective on transparency:

The old transparency model Transparency that leads to solutions
– Dramatize the person’s problem for the sake of getting their attention (as well as the attention of others) – Ask the person what they are doing that works and what needs to get better
– Attack the opposition’s credibility in order to get them to change their mind – Ask the person what they are aiming for and how that will be useful to others
– Expose and force the person to admit they are wrong – Allow the person the space to admit they have learned from the situation

Will this change the opaque bankers or WikiLeaks people? No! But, it can help people in organizations make progress using transparency about the problem and the desired solution.