Non-intuitively and despite sounding the same, the two phrases have opposite meanings and connotations.
Transparency in business is usually good. It's defined as open communication and accountability in the information being communicated. When your business has transparency, you are removing barriers to information and are allowing your customers or colleagues to make informed business decisions about the information that you're presenting. As I've put it before on this blog...
Put simply, a clerk at a check-out counter ringing up the purchase of your groceries is being transparent: you know exactly how much each item costs and can make business decisions based on those costs whether you really want to buy those bananas or not. An appliance repairman presenting a non-itemized bill for $300 to fix your dishwasher is not being transparent: you don't know how much the parts are costing compared to the labor or how that amount was arrived at.Transparency in business is a good thing and in real life you should hesitate to do business with anyone who is not willing to operate this way. Lots of organizations in EVE operate this way too, from Red Frog Freight to Goonswarm.
A business manager being transparent, conversely, is a bad thing. There's a interesting scene in the movie Apollo 13 that demonstrates being transparent that's sometimes used in business management seminars. In the scene, Ken Mattingly (expertly played by Gary Senise) has been scrubbed from the mission by NASA's flight surgeons because he's been exposed to the measles and has no immunity. Jim Lovell (Tom Hanks mostly in affable mode) has been given the job of breaking tne news by their mutual boss, Deke Slayton. Lovell objects to the decision strenuously to Slayton but is overruled. In the following scene, Lovell delivers the bad news. Did the scene play this way in real life? I don't know. But in the movie, Mattingly understandably objects and makes it clear that he's sure Lovell has been ordered to give this news (which is true). He wants to argue with Slayton himself. Lovell responds: "This was my call."
Now that's a lie, but the price of telling the truth is being transparent. Being transparent -- and exposing your boss to criticism in doing so -- is a bad thing. Mattingly can certainly escalate his concerns to Slayton and cause all sorts of drama. Know what it would accomplish? Not a damn thing! The decision will still stand but now there will also be bad feelings surrounding the decision, or more bad feelings if there are already bad feelings. Being transparent works in the other directon as well and is just as bad that way. Lovell could share Mattingly's distress with Slayton but again there's nothing to be gained by doing so except to add drama and increase bad feelings.
Being transparent is nearly always a bad decision. There are times it must be done, but if you must do it, understand what you're doing and why you're doing it. Have a good reason for making this decision. Because otherwise, you're causing drama and bad feelings for no good reason. The difference between transparency of business data and business decisions, and being transparent is subtle, but important.
Why do I bring this up now and feel the need to write a long blog post about it? Because there are two situations going on in EVE Online right now that brought the difference between transparency and being transparent to mind.
First, there's a lot of drama right now surrounding one of EVE's largest and most well-established incursion communities. The parties involved in the drama know the details, and it's not really my place to share them at this time. But the person at the heart of this drama could have prevented much of the issue by offering his (now former) partners more transparency in the information he provided regarding his decisions within the community. By offering more transparency into his decision-making process, he could have avoided the situation that he finds himself in. Meanwhile, his former partners are doing a good job of not being transparent in disclosing individual player concerns as the drama unfolds. They could create a lot more drama around this situation, but they're not doing so and as a result, the rank-and-file within the community are being protected and there's a minimum of bad feelings being created. That's smart.
Second and in a similar vein, as Montolio resigns as leader of the TEST Alliance and its associated coalition, he's doing a very good job of offering transparency around his decision but at the same time is also not being transparent about the decisions of the people he's working with and who are replacing him. Montolio (or indeed, any leader in his position) can do a great deal of damage on his way out the door by being transparent. But they can do just as much damage by not offering transparency around their decision to leave. In my opinion, Montolio is striking just the right balance.
And it's a very tricky balance to strike. Anyway, just something for all of you out there to think about in your own careers, whether in EVE or in life...