We talk a lot about transparency in the social media world and about how social media will make conversations and decisions more transparent and all of that is true. However, there is a limit to how far that transparency will go without exposing power dynamics. The only way I know to really uncover power dynamics in organizations is to expose the money trails. That is ultimately where the rubber hits the road.
I've been on a couple of boards and management teams and it's funny - there is always the lesser and greater members of the team. This is never explicitly stated but some people can act with impunity and others cannot. Want to bet which is which? In the end, it is all about the money.
So - here is a radical idea - expose the compensation for everyone in the organization (salaries, benefits, and ownership stakes) and make them reflect a logical scheme based on job function, responsibilities, percentage of revenue/profits, positive/negative peer reviews, etc. - expose both the methodology for compensation and the actual amount. Make it crystal clear how you allocate expenses - that will tell everyone very explicitly what the organization values. Do the same for customers - they are going to talk to each other anyway - standardize and simplify your pricing scheme. And then stick with it. Your values should be your values, right?
I know - the whole idea makes you squirm, doesn't it? We don't really like talking about money much as a society despite all the greed that is going around. I read something recently (I think by Francine McKenna or Dennis Howlett) that accounting is really the exercise about setting our priorities and ensuring that we are acting on and accounting for those priorities. So why should that be so secret? Are we afraid that we may not be worth what we are paid? Are we ashamed because we really are greedy and somehow we know it is not equitable? Are we squandering our money on pet employees or projects?
Yeah, I don't think we are really ready. So let us stop talking about 'radical' transparency and keep it at just increased transparency.