In a wonderful piece of commentary echoed around the blogosphere that every company, nonprofit, and government agency should try to emulate, Dan Froomkin, deputy editor of the Nieman Watchdog Project, illustrates why maintaining the status quo is bad and now is the time for the White House to embrace change:
Perhaps the single most striking aspect of the Bush White House has been how opaque it is. More than with any other White House in history, the public has been unable to see in – and the president and his top aides have been disinclined to look out. This may well have been entirely by design, but the results were disastrous. Inside the bubble, the absence of dissent and lack of accountability were contributing factors to Bush’s legacy of poor decision-making, unchecked politicization, unremitting spin and arguably illegal assertions of unfettered power. Outside the bubble, the result has been a deep and abiding mistrust; a loss of faith in the competence of government — and its good intentions.
The kind of transparency Obama has so far only talked about isn’t just a neat campaign promise, it’s essential to winning back America’s trust and confidence. And after nearly eight years during which the president routinely ignored, mocked or mischaracterized his political opponents, imagine a president and his staff engaging in respectful dialogue with supporters and critics alike. It would be enlivening to our democracy.
You don’t have to follow this advice. You don’t have to be authentic to your customers — or your taxpayers. You could continue defending the status quo, as Seth Godin outlined in 2006.
But do you really want to do that?
Photo credit: carf @ Flickr