Circle of Fellows #53: Communication and transparency

A lot of organizations talk a good game about transparency, but when push comes to shove, they can still seem secretive and opaque. Clearly, transparency doesn’t mean making every scrap of information available. Share your employees’ health records and you’ll be subject to penalties under HIPAA (in the U.S.). Reveal plans for product launches and you could be giving the competition a leg up. And will you engage in salary transparency, letting every employee know how much every employee makes? (Some companies do!)

In episode 53 of the “Circle of Fellows” broadcast, IABC Fellows and moderator Shel Holtz discusses transparency, how to be strategic about it, and how communicators can keep their organizations (or clients) consistent about what and how they implement a transparent culture.


About the transparency panel

Martha Muzychka — one of our newest Fellows, from the class of 2019 — speaks, writes, listens, and helps others do the same to make change happen. Martha is a strategic, creative problem solver seeking challenging communications environments where we can make a difference. She helps her clients navigate competing priorities and embrace communications challenges. Martha offers strategic planning, facilitation, and consultation services as well as writing and editing, qualitative research, and policy analysis. Her work has been recognized locally, nationally, and internationally with multiple awards.

Cindy Schmieg is an award-winning strategic communicator. With 30+ years of corporate, agency, and consulting experience, Cindy now teaches online within the Communications Master Degree program at Southern New Hampshire. She has served in many IABC leadership roles and today serves as IABC 2018 Gold Quill Awards Chair.

Jim Shaffer is a business adviser, leadership coach, author, and speaker. As leader of the Jim Shaffer Group, he helps organizations accelerate results through superior strategy execution. The Jim Shaffer Group creates hard business results by translating the business strategy to the people who need to implement it, aligning systems, processes, and culture to make the gains sustainable. The firm has improved quality, service, sales, safety, turnover, productivity, speed and costs with some returns exceeding more than 1,600 percent. He designed and produced the IABC Academy courses, “Managing Communication to Drive Results and Value” and “How to Add Value as a Strategic Adviser”. Some of his clients have included: Hallmark, ConAgra Foods, FedEx, IBM, Marriott, Mayo Clinic, Verizon, Owens Corning, Pfizer and Toyota.

Brad Whitworth is a communication manager at Hitachi Vantara.  A communication coach at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Brad was most recently an executive communication manager at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Before that, he was senior communication manager at Cisco Systems. Before Cisco, Brad led communication programs at HP, PeopleSoft, and AAA. He earned undergraduate degrees in both journalism and speech at the University of Missouri and an MBA at Santa Clara University. A former broadcaster, Brad has made more than 300 presentations to executives, communicators, and university classes around the world. Brad has a long history with IABC, including serving as chairman of the international board and president of two local chapters. He is one of the authors of The IABC Handbook of Organizational Communication.

Shel Holtz

Shel Holtz, ABC, is director of internal communications at Webcor, a commercial general contractor headquartered in San Francisco. Before joining Webcor, Shel spent 21 years as principal of Holtz Communication + Technology. In addition to integrating technology into communications strategies, his expertise includes strategic communications planning, change management, organizational culture, business initiatives and communications research.

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