Author, marketer Lynn Serafinn takes a poetic, philosophical & practical look at Transparency in business, marketing & life. Part 5 of a special 7-part series.
One night when I was about 15 years old, I awoke suddenly from a deep sleep around 3AM. Even though it was dead silent, as everyone else in the house was sound asleep, I had this odd sensation that someone had whispered something into my ear – something significant.
Semi-conscious, I groped around in the dark trying to find something to write with, so I could record what I had ‘heard’ in my sleep. My fingers fell upon a pencil, but the only piece of paper I could find was a partially crumpled dinner napkin lying on my dresser. Without turning on the light, I hastily scribbled something down and then tumbled back into bed. I fell back to sleep almost instantly.
When I awoke in the morning, I was only vaguely aware that something odd had occurred in the middle of the night. I wasn’t entirely sure whether it had actually happened, or if it had all been a dream. But when I got out of bed, and found the crumpled dinner napkin lying on my dresser, covered in words. To my amazement, the jumbled pencil scrawl formed a poem. Today, over 4 decades later, I still remember it:
I was a prolific poet when I was young. I wrote hundreds of poems between the ages of 12 and 25. While most of those poems have been lost over the years, this one has always stayed in my memory. Possibly, its ‘mystical’ origins are what made it stand out as special in my mind. But I think the poem itself also mystical, as it expresses how the Light of Truth enables us to transcend the boundaries of our physical separateness and see the essence of who we truly are.
This mystical message is also a perfect description of the ‘Grace of Transparency’.
How Transparency Goes Beyond Mere Honesty
If you’ve been following this blog, this month we’ve been celebrating the 2-year anniversary of the 7 Graces of Marketing by looking at each of the Graces in turn. If you’ve missed any of the first 4 articles, you can find them at these links:
Today, in article #5 in this 7-part series, we’re looking at the Grace of Transparency.
In the book The 7 Graces of Marketing, the 5th ‘Deadly Sin’ of marketing is ‘Deception’. Because there are so many different types of Deception in mainstream marketing, it is one of the weightiest chapters in the book. Such a heavy topic needed an equally powerful ‘antidote’. At first, the word ‘honesty’ first came to my mind. However, I soon realised that mere ‘honesty’ lacked the emotional intensity of the word ‘deception’. It was then that ‘Transparency’ revealed itself as the ‘cure’ for the Deadly Sin of Deception.
The literal meaning of the word ‘transparent’ is ‘to shine light through’. Thus, to be transparent is not simply a matter of telling the truth and behaving in an honest fashion. True Transparency is when we reveal and project the light of our being out into the world.
Transparency is the Light, the Truth, the Essence of who we are – as people, as business owners and as marketers. There can be no real honesty in the world of business and marketing without this Light.
It is only through this Light that we can see one another.
5 Types of Transparency in Day-to-Day Business, Marketing and Life
I know I’ve been wafting poetically (it always happens to me during the holiday season), so let me bring the idea of Transparency down to Earth by offering 5 tangible ways Transparency can been expressed through our businesses:
- Being Transparent about Our Business Operations. For Transparency to exist in business and marketing, is vital that we are up front with the public about how our business operates – our supply chain; our policies and practices in manufacturing, waste, recycling; our human rights policies, etc. This is the most fundamental form of Transparency, and it is what most people tend to think of when they talk about Transparency in business.
- Being Transparent about Our Values. We take Transparency one level deeper when we openly and clearly express our values to the public. Some companies are afraid to do this because by taking a stance on something, we run the risk of losing the loyalty of a certain percentage of our audience. But when we allow the Light of our values to shine through our words, our actions and our marketing, those who remain loyal to our company because of our value-system will actually become closer to us.
- Being Transparent When We’re Going through Changes. All companies – from sole proprietors to multi-national corporations – go through some kind of major change at one time or another. This could be due to changes in technology, finances, personnel or many other factors. Because they are afraid of losing customers, many businesses try to hide such changes from the public. But ironically, keeping people in the dark like this is what will lose you customers, because when the ‘light’ of the truth comes out (and it always does), they will be hesitant to trust you at your word in the future. Being transparent helps strengthen the bond you have with your audience, and makes them more accepting if and when major changes do occur.
- Being Transparent When We’ve Made a Mistake. There is an old saying ‘To Err is Human’. Businesses are made by humans; thus no business is free from error. The most important thing is to be transparent about our mistakes, and to take responsibility for their ramifications. This can be one of the scariest types of Transparency. Because it is so scary, many businesses try their best to avoid bringing mistakes out into the open, only to face disgrace (and/or expensive lawsuits) later when the truth eventually comes out.
- Being Transparent When We Need Help. Back in leadership training, we were told, ‘The key to success is asking for help’. The longer I live, the more I see the truth of this statement. But how many of us – in our businesses or in our lives in general – spend weeks, months or years struggling on our own because we fear being judged as ‘weak’ or ‘failures’ if we reach out for help? Of course, if we have not been transparent in any of the other scenarios already mentioned above, we might not be well received when we request the help of others. People will be more likely to help us when they trust the integrity of our business operations, understand our values, trust that we have told them the ‘whole story’ and know that we take responsibility of our own actions.
I hope you’ve indulged me in my slightly poetic sojourn today. Transparency is one of those Graces that can send me into a philosophical place. For me, the Grace of Transparency brings the Soul of Humanity back into our businesses. Without Transparency, we find ourselves sentenced to live in an impersonal and soulless world, where business and marketing become severed from the hearts and minds of the people who created them.
I believe it is vital to remember that our businesses – much like my poem – are the artistic expressions of something within us. If we cut off the channel between that ‘something’ and our business, we have effectively turned off the Light of commerce. Admittedly, turning that Light back on can be a scary thing when we have spent so much time in the shadows. But the good news is that becoming transparent takes no special ‘skill’. Our Light is already there – like the tiny star in the Great Distance. We only have to reach within and allow others to see it.
And then – perhaps – in that Light, we might at last see one another.
Coming Up Next Time
Next time, I’ll share my reflections on Grace #6 – The Grace of Abundance. I do hope you’ll subscribe to this blog so you can be sure to receive it.
And please do share your thoughts and feedback below. I always look forward to hearing from you.
Lastly, please accept my invitation to come join our ever-growing 7 Graces community on Facebook at http://facebook.com/groups/7GracesGlobalGarden. That way, you’ll also be amongst the first to know about our 7 Graces training courses as they become available in 2014.
Until next time, take care, and I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday week.
27 December 2013
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Find out more about how changing the paradigm can help make the world a better place:
The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell, by Lynn Serafinn, where you can learn how the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Graces impact the world through media and marketing.
Brit Writers Awards Finalist
eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian & Ecological Social Issues
Tweep-e-licious: 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically, by Lynn Serafinn, which can help you learn how to create meaningful collaborations through Twitter and other social media.
eLit Book Awards Bronze Medal in Business and Sales
Get instant access to a free 90-minute Twitter marketing class at http://tweepelicious.com
LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales. Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.
(not just for Londoners, as we meet also on Skype)