December 4, 2013
Most utilities are not trying to hide information. But despite their best intentions, they may appear to be holding back because they do not understand how to be meaningfully transparent. In past Branding Updates we have discussed the need to share the motivations and standards driving the activities, decisions, and proposed investments of the utility. This is especially true with respect to planning and finances.
However, in many cases standards are sprinkled throughout the strategic plan or other policies and procedures. Major standards may be called core values or goals. Standards can even be found in lists of activities. One way to facilitate increased transparency is to compile the important standards in a single document so they are readily accessible to the staff. The process of listing and reviewing the standards forces the organization to reconfirm their commitment to the standard, or revise it. It also reinforces the need to share these standards when communicating and making the case for needed investments. It is very difficult for utility managers and staff members to be transparent if vetted standards are not easy to find and use.