No sensationalist journalist in their wildest dreams would have imagined getting hold of the juicy information about the world’s leaders that WikiLeaks has obtained. In total they’ve published 250,000 classified documents concerning U.S. foreign policy. Now we can read all about certain people’s predilection for Botox, accounts of wild uninhibited parties, and how boring some leaders are. However, the most important contribution made by Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been to tear down the all-pervasive walls of opacity.

Social networks have ushered in an era of transparency and, to be frank, our existing organizational structures and political and business leaders often can’t cope with this new reality. A culture of opacity works on the basis that knowledge is power. However, in today’s new paradigm it is the massive distribution of knowledge that creates power… which explains why Assange is possibly one of the most powerful –and feared– men in the world today.

Transparency in organizations eliminates embedded pockets of power and makes boundaries increasingly hazy. When transparency is the order of the day, we witness the blurring of the conventional lines which separate different departments within companies, or companies and society as a whole, or our personal and professional lives.

So, where does the right to privacy end and the public’s right to information begin? In a world where everything (or almost everything) can be known, this dividing line is increasingly fine.

The march of transparency appears to be unstoppable, as does the spread of the Internet. We would thus be well advised to ready ourselves, to be coherent in everything we say and do, and to achieve success thanks to the added value which we bring and not through strategies which belong to another era.

Seen in that light, the future of our companies doesn’t look so bad.

(First published in Spanish in Expansión y Empleo)

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