Thursday 3 December 2009

Member Care and Transparency—Part 6, Summary

Developmental Musings on Living Shalom

Transparency involves sharing truth wisely.
It builds trust and promotes true peace—shalom (שָׁלוֹם).
Shalom is what we yearn for in member care and in life:
“holistic well-being for all."

Speak the truth to one another
and judge truthfully so that there will be shalom
…therefore love truth and shalom (Zechariah 8:16,19).
We love these wise words above from Zechariah, the 6th century BC Jewish prophet. They are core guidelines for us. Call us on skype sometime, for example, and you will see these words pop up by our profile: "Love both truth and peace." But more importantly, we want these words to be permanently engraved on the profiles of our hearts. May they guide you and all of us now into the personal integrity and relational health that are needed to truly do member care well. Live shalom.

Summary Principles: 12 Thoughts on Transparency
**Transparency is developed throughout our lives and especially influenced by our parents and other role models.
**Transparency is part of our core being and is part of a lifestyle of integrity.

**Transparency is a commitment to honesty with ourselves and others.
** Transparency builds trust and trust builds relationships.
**Transparency involves having the courage to admit errors and wrong actions.
**Transparency involves having the courage to compassionately confront others.

**Transparency is a core part of accountability, both personally and organizationally.
**Transparency is the responsibility of both leaders and staff in organizations.
**Transparency is modeled by leaders who share information, self-disclose, and invite honest feedback.

**Transparency requires prudence to determine how much, when, and with whom to openly share.
**Transparency requires risk, and taking risks is often part of acting ethically.
**Transparency promotes holistic well-being for all.

Transparency and Friends
The photo below is a bit unusual for sure. These folks are 12 special little “buddies” in our office. Can you find them all? Perhaps you have some similar things in your office? (smile)

For example, there's the Gingerbread Boy home-made in France, a Limber Jack from Vermont USA, Gumby the animation celebrity with klompen shoes from The Netherlands, a subdued Pinoccio from a Roman vendor, Tony the Tiger of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes fame wearing an American football helmet and heroically brandishing a sword, a Hongkongese rooster, a medievel knight on his trusted three-legged steed, and even a little green shamrock sprouting arms and legs.

These wee folks come from all over the world and mostly from places where we have lived or worked. They are daily reminders of some great human friends we are privleged to have across the globe--people with whom mutual transparency and holistic well-being are central parts of our relationship. And I guess now these 12 buddies in our office will also be reminders of the 12 principles of transparency summarized above.

Transparency—The Book
Here is a final set of quotes from Bennis et al in Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor (2006). This is a timely book to further instruct all of us in the mission/aid and member care community.

"Leaders need to question their willingness to hear certain voices and not others. They need to make a habit of second-guessing their enthusiasms as well as their antipathies, since both can cloud their judgment." (p. 27)

“…Leaders demonstrate their respect by giving followers relevant information, by never using or manipulating them, and by including them in the making of decisions that affect them.…That’s why the failure to include people is the second-most common source of mistrust, close behind the failure of leaders to tell the truth consistently…To renege on one’s word may seem necessary to some leaders, but in the eyes of followers it is a betrayal of trust...In essence, trust is hard to earn, easy to lose, and, once lost, nearly impossible to regain.” (p. 63)

"….three requisite steps for the exercise of integrity [from Yale law professor Stephen Carter]: 1. Discerning what is right and what is wrong; 2. Acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost; 3. Saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right and wrong." (p. 72)

Reflection and Discussion
1. Which of the above 12 summary thoughts on transparency are the most relevant for you now?

2. Are there additional thoughts (principles) that you would like to add to this list?

3. Who are you true friends with whom you can be mutually transparent?

4. Transparency is part of integrity. It can be risky. Give an example, especially in light of the final quote from Bennis et al (quoting Stephen Carter on integrity).
Note: Here is little treat for you who have read through all of these six entries. Turn up the volume and enjoy! It’s a six minute clip from Paul McCartney’s 2008 concert in Quebec. C’est très bon et très cool! The last two minutes are especially relevant. Live shalom!

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