Why Transparency Is Important

transparency-camp-2010-wordleI often talk about transparency, and I see it as one of the most important aspects in achieving success. In fact its a key component of my FAST (Focus, Accountability, Simplicity and Transparency) Leadership Approach.

Transparency is all about honesty of where we are, where we need to go and what we need to do in order to be successful. It’s about having a plan and knowing where we are against that plan and being honest about whether we are making sufficient progress in order to stick with the plan or whether we need to make changes to the plan.

I mention this today because I went for my first training run for a few days, I have missed a few of the planned runs, firstly due to flu and then for reasons I am not quite sure about, but probably due to a weakening in my motivation 🙂

My next running goal is to run in the Vancouver Marathon, and I started my training at the beginning of January, it was an 16 week training plan which involved me running 5-6 times a week, steadily increasing the distance of my long run each week.

As part of of the training it would require me to run around 200km a month and total of around 900km before the race on My 4th.

I use Nike plus to record and monitor my progress, also I have started to use the coach feature, this then allows me to track not only my running but also to track it against the plan.

For the first three weeks of January my training was bang on track, I was doing the daily runs, sometimes even running a bit further getting ahead of plan.

Then I came down with flu, this has basically stopped me from running for 10 days, which now means I am completely behind plan. I’ve missed 8 training runs, and I am about 80km behind where I need to be in terms of distance run.

With this transparency I can see exactly where I am, its impossible for me to pretend that I am on track and that all is well.

vancouver progress

I do have two weeks contingency in the plan but I don’t want to use it all up just over 5 weeks into 16 weeks of training, that is a possibility but it’s not a good option.

My biggest problem is not only that I am behind plan, but that the plan involves increasing my training week by week, so my current level of performance isn’t enough to catch up. I need to be running 10-15% more per day than I currently am. What this means is that if I continue from where I am now with the same level of performance then I will fall further and further behind each and every week.

hockey stickI could look to continue as I am and then hope to increase in the last weeks, but usually that wishful thinking, that approach is called the Hockey Stick approach, where the improvement suddenly doubles or trebles at the end. Many people take this approach and in my experience many of them fail.

Using transparency it’s clear that I need to make a change to my plan, I need to find a way to get back on track. I need to look to increase my training by 20-30% for for a couple of week in order to get back on track, then I can revert back to the original plan.

Without transparency I could have been able to kid myself that I was doing ok, that if i just picked up where I’d left off I would be able to get back on track.

This is why Transparency is important, it allows us to hold ourselves accountable for the progress that we need to be making and also it shows us whether or not we need to change our approach in order to increase the progress.

Without Transparency I think that the probability of success is significantly reduced. It’s like running the hundred metres with a blindfold on. You don’t know where the finish line is, or even worse the competition, in relation to you so you don’t know when to dip to finish as fast as possible.

I’d be interested to hear of anyone who has been successful without Transparency and what it was that they used in order to maintain progress and ensure they achieved success.

Gordon Tredgold

Leadership Principles