Passive-aggressive transparency

Victor Bekink / 14 December 2021

Passive-aggressive transparency defined

This is my name for an annoying, time-wasting, potentially stress-inducing behaviour that I suspect almost everyone working on complex projects in a team has, at some point

  1. Suffered from.
  2. Inflicted upon others – unwittingly or otherwise. 

In business today, increasing emphasis is attached to transparency and collaboration as important for productive, satisfying work and strong relationships.

But “transparency” isn’t synonymous with “data dump” and that distinction often gets lost in practice. 

An example:

  • “Here’s a short summary of project status” – a few lines or paragraphs of text, perhaps a slide or two.
  • “Please see the attached file for details” – a massive spreadsheet / 200 page Word table / some other unfeasibly large document
  • “Looking forward to discussing tomorrow!”
The receiver can’t deny the information was shared, but cannot readily absorb what matters. This can increase risk and cost. It may also leave a nasty taste in the mouth which, over time, damages relationships.

Three possible reasons

The reasons can vary

  1. At worst: the sharer is seeking to bury something.
  2. At best: the sharer is very pressed for time and can’t do better, in their document-centric environment, than send the large working documents across with some manually prepared summary.
  3. Somewhere in the middle: not trying to hide anything, but an element of “CYA”* – just in case. 

* “Cover your ass” – with apologies for my language.

A better way

If you’re in category 1 (seeking to bury things) then Juralio is not the product for you.

But if you’re working on complex projects and you’re not in category 1, get in touch if you’d like to try Juralio.

Everything we do is driven by our goal of making the complex as simple as it can be, without losing crucial nuance and context. People can immediately grasp the gist then find detail on points of interest to them, without becoming lost.

You’ll enjoy it, everyone you work with will be grateful, you’ll look smart, you’ll reduce risk. 

And you’ll spend less time on mundane tasks like writing summaries and wondering what to leave out; and reading other people’s summaries and wondering what they’ve left out.

Photo by Eberhard Grossgasteiger on Unsplash



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