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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Followup to: "If information is power, why share information?"

Yesterday's post focused on the seemingly illogical action of sharing information when doing so poses so much risk.


Since obviously I do believe very strongly in information-sharing, just wanted to provide a quick followup. Let's take these one at a time:


1. Status/power/respect - while it's true that people respect authoritative leaders, it's also true that leaders who show a human side tend to gain more support from those they lead.

2. Credibility - there is nobody on this earth who hasn't made a mistake. By owning up to yours up front, rather than trying to hide or paper over them, you show maturity and gain even more credibility among your audience.

3. Security - obviously you have to have a strategic plan about what you do and don't share, but this should not mean walling off the organization entirely. This would be impossible anyway in the Internet age.

4. Social norms - it is becoming not only normative but axiomatic that the organization will share information. To be a closed organization is automatically to provoke distrust (see credibility and status, above) and even the suspicion that the organization lacks the expertise it claims to have.

5. Self-esteem - not only does it "feel good" to share information and help others, but it provides one with solid footing in a community.


From my perspective if the organization is doing what it should, then legal compliance is not an issue. It only becomes one as a last resort when there is an inability to be appropriately transparent.


One quick last word is that the principle of information-sharing can be taken too far (a la the Kardashians). There is an appropriate place and time for not sharing information. But in my view the "default setting" should be to share, unless there is a significant and justifiable reason not to.


Have a good day everyone, and good luck!