Imagine for a moment if there was no transparency. What a dark and ugly world that would be. Everyone hoarding their own thoughts and information for their own benefit. I realize that is an extreme thought, but it paints a picture about the word “Transparency” or lack of it.
Conversely, imagine a world where everyone shared their thoughts and information openly and honestly with others. What a bright and beautiful world that would be. I believe it’s human nature that people want to be included in dialogue so they have a deeper understanding of any important topic. This builds trust, collaboration, and real teamwork. Isn’t it more exciting to live and work in a world that allows people the opportunity to be on the same page and in alignment? In addition, doesn’t it truly energize one another to work together to do something meaningful and with a sense of purpose?
As I observe people that practice transparency, I see some common traits they share. First, they are confident. These individuals are not afraid to share information. In fact, they act boldly and proudly when communicating. Secondly, they are helpful, selfless and supportive. They care so much about helping others that they will do everything in their power to mentor people and get them up to speed to accomplish individual or team goals. And lastly, they are focused on the long term. They invest their valuable time to educate others, so those individuals can develop into even better associates than themselves. They are true servant leaders.
Two very special people that come to mind when I think about transparency are Mike Castillo and Frank Platz Sr. Mike has a lot of experience in our business, not only in sales, purchasing, and operations, but in our ERP systems and now as a key leader in our expanding IT Team. I’ve watched Mike share his knowledge patiently and professionally to help all his Famous teammates. He always works to help others become better. And he always has an “All-Star Analogy” to share. Ironically, he spent a lot of time, over 2+ decades in Lorain (his second home branch) with Frank Platz Sr., who was one of our most amazing leaders Famous ever had. Frank recently passed away after 57 years with the company. At his wake, I heard and saw two things that I will never forget. First, was listening to a number of our associates (most specifically Nikki Meibuhr and Doug Justice) say that Frank was truly one of the best associates / leader they ever worked with in their careers. They referred to him as much more than a mentor. He was a father figure who went above and beyond to teach and share “everything” he knew about Famous, our products, our customers, and so much more. They gave special attention to his soft skills and emotional intelligence, and expressed that Frank always communicated with dignity, warmth and a smile on his face.
Secondly, what I saw at his wake struck me with great emotion. Many people choose to be laid to rest in their favorite suit or one with special meaning. Frank was a little bit different, although he requested his wonderful family to make sure they put him in his favorite attire. Frank was dressed handsomely in his Famous charcoal gray golf shirt with our Famous logo. Frank’s transparency shined through his entire career, and it was apparent on that difficult day as well. Frank was saying “I love Famous, I love our associates, I love our suppliers, and I love our customers.” With 100% transparency, we can also say ”We love you Frank and we thank you for being Famous!”