Hi, friends & colleagues:

This week’s excerpt from my new book, How To Win Client Business, is from Chapter 20: Transparency Is Good, Right? – How and When to Be Transparent. This chapter discusses the importance of sharing our authentic self with our professional ecosystem.

Being transparent applies to our personal qualities that make us human: our values, belief systems, interests, and hobbies. Sharing these aspects of our personal life helps us find common ground with others. And in finding common ground with others, we allow trust-based relationships to flourish.

Not everyone agrees with me. And, if you work in large organizations, you may be encouraged to hide who you really are. Personally, I couldn’t live this way. At the end of the day, it’s your decision about how much of who you really are you share with your professional ecosystem. For me, I believe the mindset of ‘never offend anyone’ is a slippery slope to irrelevancy. I dive into the logic of why I believe this to be true in this chapter.

In addition to the text excerpt below, I’m providing a short 5 minute audio version as well – narrated by me. So, if you’d rather listen to a sample from Chapter 20 in lieu of the text excerpt, simply click here. (Note: If your preferred format is audio, the audiobook is now available on Amazon and is beautifully narrated by Barry Abrams – one of the best in the industry.)

Here’s this week’s excerpt. I hope you enjoy it!



Chapter 20: Transparency is Good, Right?

How and When to Be Transparent


Why Undersharing Is a Path to Irrelevancy


Earlier we heard from marketing guru Seth Godin on the importance of finding

our tribe. We learned from Seth that humans are wired to seek out others who

share common interests. This is why transparency is important, because it relates

to sharing our personal interests and beliefs.


Some believe that it’s a bad idea to be transparent about our personal interests

in our professional lives. If we share with others who we are and what we believe

in, we may turn some people off. And if we turn some people off by sharing who

we are, then we shrink our pool of prospective clients. And if we shrink the pool of

prospective clients, we have fewer opportunities for winning client business. Why

would we want to be transparent?


I think this mindset of “never offend anyone” is a slippery slope to irrelevancy.

I was recently listening to a podcast interview between Seth Godin and the

editor of Inc. magazine. Seth said something, almost as a side comment, that really

changed the way I think about transparency:


Independent of whether you are an individual or a large company, you will either

be judged or ignored.


When it finally sunk in, his comment helped me see more clearly why great

brands take a point of view about things, such as Nike’s support for Colin Kaepernick.

I immediately grabbed my notepad and began sketching out a flow chart to

illustrate Seth’s point. (See Figure 20.1.)


                                                                                    Figure 20.1


When we’re transparent about what we believe in and what our interests are,

we are judged by others. This is scary for many of us; we were raised by caring parents

who emphasized a philosophy of “not offending anyone.” Don’t stand out – fit in. Better to swim

with the current. When it comes to business, though, not sticking

out leads to being ignored.


When we are judged, people either love us or not. They’re either drawn

to what our brand stands for or not. And guess what? This is a good thing,

because in turning people on we find our tribe of people who love what our

brand stands for.


When we follow those who love our brand message – as shared through

transparency – we find our tribe and begin to build authentic relationships with

our audience. I call this following the love. When we are transparent with others

about our interests and beliefs, some will love us; this is our tribe. Losing a portion

of the market due to transparency is a much better alternative than being ignored

by everyone.


When we aren’t transparent about what our brand stands for – corporate or

personal – we don’t turn anyone off. It seems right, but it’s not. By not being transparent

about who we are and what our brand stands for, no one becomes a raving

fan. So share your authentic brand and follow the love. Being ignored is a quick

path to irrelevancy. Finding your tribe of raving fans is about being true to who you

are. You may lose a portion of the market due to not having common ground, but

you’ll more than make up for the loss with a loyal group of colleagues who share

your interests.


It’s the reason you’ll see a business put the Christian fish symbol in their store

window. Chick-Fil-A – a privately held company – is closed on Sundays due to

its Christian values. Those who are also Christians will be drawn in due to the

common values. Those who aren’t won’t. Patagonia is another good example. Its

founder, Yvon Chouinard, is an outspoken environmental steward. Those who

align with Patagonia’s strong environmental stance become loyal customers; others

won’t. It’s better to be loved by 20% of the market than ignored by 100% of it.


I take a strong stand in my writing regarding certain business approaches that I

believe in – for example, my views on cold-calling and likeability. I come out pretty

strong in sharing my opinions and observations on these topics. Not everyone is going

to agree with me, and I’ve had some interesting conversations with radio talk show

hosts who disagreed with my point of view. It’s better to find those who align with my

belief system through transparency than having 100% of the market ignore me.


Being true to who you are is the purest form of transparency. You’ll have to

find the right way to be transparent that feels good to you. My personal belief is

that it’s best to be true to who you are, and share this openly with others, through

small talk and in your personal bio, and you’ll go a long way to forming trust with

those you wish to serve.


Click here to order your copy of my new book, How To Win Client Business, today!