The age-ncy of transparency

CEO Peter-Jan Grech is brutally honest about what transparency means to BRND WGN and its clients.

There’s a fair amount of cynicism that comes about at the mere mention of the words honesty and transparency within the workplace. They have become the buzz words of this era and, by definition, the rainbow unicorn that no one has ever really seen.

Two years ago, when our team sat around the BRND WGN meeting room table to forge our path ahead towards achieving our five year goals, we beat our chests with pride and professed our key value drivers as:

• Challenge everything;

• Be brutally honest;

• Have fun.

Little did we know that these values might be harder to work towards than the journey we set in motion.

Whilst the first and last are quite easy to achieve, it’s the imperative value of ‘brutal honesty’ sandwiched in-between that binds all three, and holds all accountable.

But what does ‘being brutally honest’ even mean? More importantly, what does it actually bring to the table? And, can we even handle it when we hear it?

As brand leaders and change provocateurs, we know that nothing gets brand owners in motion like asking a tough question despite the consequences and embarrassing reactions it might bring.

At times, those same reactions can also solicit dire consequences to a project’s future. But it’s those realisations that actually seal the bond of trust between client and agency; the magic moments that help set a brand in motion with fearless momentum.

You have to be gutsy and have tough skin to be brutally honest. Most of us can’t handle the truth and what it brings most of the time. Like closing an integral part of the business because it goes against this same value. Like telling one of your best clients you can no longer handle their account. Or, like accepting the skills you had as a startup business owner will serve you little as you transition your business.

Transparency leaves nothing to chance or misinterpretation. It says it like it is, laying things bare for all to see. It crushes the ambiguity of project ballparks, job role and responsibility. It gives everyone the chance to speak their mind, in the best interest of the brand.

Being brutally honest, I know the truth hurts and that scares me. But, like Thomas Jefferson said: “… we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead.” And, at BRND WGN, we know that the truth won’t break us. It is an essential part of what drives us to keep improving.