Wikipedia defines “Transparency, as used in science, engineering, business, the humanities and in a social context more generally, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed”. If you take full accountability for the actions then you are transparent and if you display greater levels of transparency in your actions you are considered a more accountable. So, there is no question of which comes first. The acid test is after an action from your end, whether you are proudly be able share it with your colleagues, near and dear ones or you would like to keep it only with yourself. If you want to keep it with yourself then definitely there is an issue in that action. It is clear that you don’t want to be transparent and slowly after some time you will not take accountability for that action as well. Each Organization has its values and wants to conduct business upholding the values. Who can do this? It is the employees like us have to do it. Some time back, I was in discussion with an internal auditor and we were discussing about how in organization fraudulent transactions takes place even after having very good control measures. The observation is it all starts from small things, which we normally consider fine and if not controlled over a period of time transform into major kick-backs. Example: such as, using the official car for personal reasons for short duration and engaging the office boys for personal work at home etc. In big scheme of things these might look very small with respect to efforts or financial value, however while upholding values you can’t measure it saying 90% I uphold the value and 10% don’t. It is either you 100% uphold the values or not. Some pointers listed below might help you to carryout transactions in a transparent manner:- 1. Follow the set process, if any deviations required keep the relevant people informed about the deviation and why it is required? And record them for future reference. 2. Remember any activity we carryout are subject to scrutiny. When asked for details you should be ready to provide required information without any hesitation. 3. Draw clear boundary lines on what is official and personal, don’t mix up both. 4. Don’t take advantage of your position power- example: If you have well acquainted person or company approaching your organization for providing their services. You are the decision maker, even then put them through an independent un-biased panel to review and decide on whether they meet your organization’s requirement specifications or not. Record the panel’s recommendations. 5. Walk the talk- process and systems in organization are applicable to all. Don’t take exception because you are implementing the process and systems. 6. Ensure data integrity, when presenting data to your manager/management ensure information is checked for accuracy of data. Providing wrong/incorrect leads to wrong/incorrect decision. 7. When in doubt, check it out. Seek for more information and understand it before taking action. 8. Periodic internal audits will help strengthen your internal processes and systems by way of finding out improvement areas on your own. 9. Random sample checks: Do a thorough review of process adherence for the chosen sample. As you know most organizations practice “Open Door” policy, it means that you can reach any level in the organization and discuss. This enables to practice transparent work culture. Most Corporate has “Ombudsperson” process which enables employees, vendor and anyone associated with the company’s services to raise any issue, concerns on the company/individual without fear. Absolute confidentiality is ensured of the person who raised complaint. This greatly helps transact business in a transparent manner. Google in its transparency report says “As a company we feel it is our responsibility to ensure that we maximize transparency around the flow of information related to our tools and services. We believe that more information means more choice, more freedom and ultimately more power for the individual. In a memo to Head of executive Departments and Agencies U.S. Government states “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing”.
Transparency and accountability
- Written by Ram Ramakrishnan
- Category: Ram Ramakrishnan
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