WordPress had an outage on 19 February, kept their customers apprised during the crisis, remedied the problem, then posted an honest assessment about what happened (http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/wp-com-downtime-summary/).
That type of transparency and honesty is admirable. And given the multitude of comments written by WordPress users, the perception is that it is also rare.
How sad is it that many businesses operate in a manner that leads us to believe there is a dirty secret being hidden? Even if there is no ill intent, many lack the processes or mission which allow for providing information. The effect of intent or disorganization is often the same: engendering distrust and suspicion.
One of my professional goals for 2010 is building simple, nimble processes which provide transparency to our business partners – my customers. The timing could not be better, as a new VP on the business side embraces this idea. There are several cultural obstacles, and some unsettling politics, along with the very human, understandable fear of, and resistance to, change this will generate in my teams. Overcoming these requires patience, courage, honesty and vision that I hope and believe I possess.