Head to http://trust.salesforce.com/trust/status/ and you’ll see something that would make most software companies cringe–an amazing amount of transparency from the world’s largest SaaS company: Salesforce.com
It wasn’t always that way, though.
In his excellent book, Behind the Cloud, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff explains how the company used to operate with a head-in-the-sand mentality.
“I had to admit that part of me felt that if we didn’t confirm the problems, they didn’t exist. I had mistakenly assumed that reporters wouldn’t write about the issues if they didn’t have our comment. That was an antiquated assumption, however.”
This was Benioff’s approach to a massive outage in 2005. Pre-Facebook. Pre-Twitter. And at a time, when blogs were only just starting to gain mainstream traction.
The company quickly realized that if you don’t talk about your problems, they don’t simply vanish.
“We realized that silence had been a terrible strategy. And it wasn’t just the decision not to talk that had been an egregious error, it was that we had not talked immediately.”
Like most companies taking that first step towards being Radically Transparent, Benioff was “hesitant” but realized that by being transparent, he could build trust–and remove the “gotcha” weapon from Salesforce’s competitors.
Fast forward to 2011 and let’s check in on Benioff’s approach to transparency now…
“Transparency and trust became a strong part of our branding and identity.”
How’s your transparency?