Atoms on “Act Transparently” – The More You Know

Knowledge is power, so it can be tempting to keep it to ourselves—especially if we think someone might use it against us. But when we share openly and honestly, we have better friendships, stronger teams, and better products.

That’s why one of Atomic’s values is Act Transparently. I asked atoms, “What does Act Transparently mean to you?” Here’s what they told me.


Transparency Doesn’t Seek Control

Transparency, first and foremost, means resisting the urge to control information in order to control people.

It’s letting folks know what’s going on; not seeking power and control in secrets. Be open with our employees, be open with clients.
– Anne Marsan

To “Act Transparently” is to be yourself and not be afraid to expose your strengths and flaws. When you can trust your team and your team can trust you, everyone gets better. Your mistakes are fixed more quickly. You build a better relationships with those around you. We all come out as better people.
– Tabitha Blanski


Transparency Puts the Work First

Atoms want to do everything extremely well, and that only happens when we share information—good and bad—with everyone involved.

Transparency means not burying your point of a discussion deep in a conversation—being upfront about what the issue is.
– Bryan Elkus

Not only should successes and breakthroughs be shared with the team and the customer, but more importantly, sticking points and failures should be shared as early as. Being open and transparent about the good and bad gives the stakeholders the facts to make the best decisions going forward and builds trust across the board.
– Greg Williams

It simply means you don’t hide things from people. This means they know information sooner, and can make smart business decisions.
– Mike Marsiglia

Our clients get our honest perspective and that allows us to give our best.
– Shawn Crowley


Transparency Shares Actively

True transparency requires a set of habits and practices that make sure information is shared, frequently and consistently.

Transparency has driven a lot of our business decisions—showing key performance indicators on data radiators, our Fixed-Budget, Scope-Controlled billing model, using open-books management, the way we encourage Crucial Conversations, etc.
– Shawn Crowley

Atomic is so open and honest about our financials. Every quarter, our managing partners go over the financials from the previous quarter and give an overview of our revenue earned and expenses. They also provide an Economics of AO class to help us think like owners and make good financial decisions. It really encourages responsibility.
– Jamie Lystra

Carl Erickson has written about transparency several times on his blog:

Six Words

I also asked everyone to summarize “Act Transparently” in just six words. These are my favorite answers.

  • Trust gained from humility is priceless. – Greg Williams
  • Openly working in everyone’s best interests. – Shawn Crowley
  • Be open, honest, and act responsibly. – Jamie Lystra

This is the fourth post in a series on Atomic’s values, described by the Atoms themselves.

  1. Own it.
  2. Share the pain.
  3. Teach and learn.
  4. Act transparently.
  5. Give a shit.