Transparency is an important topic in business and it is even more important in a collaborative partnership to develop strong relationships.  In any agreement or relationship transparency is a critical factor to success and considering the personal nature of the collaborative partnerships, transparency is a foundational principle that is especially important in the beginning of the relationship to build trust.  Trust is the key to any relationship or partnership and transparency in communications, plans and execution is key to building and maintaining this trust.  I believe that the importance of trust in business partnerships cannot be underplayed and the higher the level of trust the stronger the partnership which then produces a higher return on the partnership. 


Collaboration in business starts with a personal relationship and builds upon the relationship through logical progression to business legal agreements.  Business collaboration should be promoted with some type of formal agreement in the form of guiding principles as a foundation.  These guiding principles define how the collaborative partners will interact and partner with each other.  This is not a legal agreement but is more of a set of guidelines and principles of engagement that should define interaction expectations along with transparency expectations.  This set of guiding principles provide the foundation for developing trust among the partners.  This is an important first step and will also provide an introductory glimpse into the the collaborative partnership for new partners.  The list of partners along with the guiding principles provide a great introduction for developing new partnerships by demonstrating in word and also in practice the belief of partners in developing strong relationships.  These business partnerships will then extend into formal legal agreements for goods and services.


Consumer collaboration, however, is a very different story that is purely based on the relationship between the partners.  The guiding principles developed and implemented for the business collaboration will play no formal role in consumer collaboration, however these guiding principles will create the environment and the interaction between partners that encourages consumers to participate and collaborate.  Consumers can be a very fickle group and you must remember and interact with consumers in the same manner that you would like to be treated.  Transparency is extremely important in both professional and personal relationships.  This seems to be a very simple underpinning of any relationship and you would think that it would not be difficult to maintain, on the other hand though if it was so easy why are so many companies and executives failing so egregiously?


Transparency is an important factor in collaboration and must be continuously evaluated and reconfirmed to ensure the continuation of the practice.  Every collaborative partner searches for transparency and fairness in their interactions; professional collaborative relationships can be defined through legal agreements as necessary however personal relationships must be maintained through common practice and integrity.  Integrity is an important factor in maintaining the relationship and it is easy to lose integrity if you do not continuously focus on it. 


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?