Transparency is difficult, especially for those from an older or more conservative generation. I recall reading [somewhere] that it was a sitcom television episode some fifty years ago that dared to enact a personal, private bedroom scene that signaled a new openness in Western society and culture. I would say that one scene would not change social order, but in the mind of this author, it was a preemptive moment that anticipated the movement from a private, closeted social order to an open, indiscreet, and very public social order. Peter Drucker in the book Post-Capitalist Society provides one of first books that addressed the knowledge and information transition that foreshadowed the transparent social society of the twenty-first century. Drucker sees the cultural transition being spawned by the availability and acquisition of knowledge by the blue-collar middle class of the industrial age; in fact, he is explicit in defining the starting point. It was the G. I. Bill of Rights following World War II that opened the door of education to the masses as never before. I personally can relate to this because without the G. I. Bill, I probably would not have had access to an under-graduate education.
Drucker defines the “knowledge worker” as the capital of a new social, economic and political era. He states, “The economic challenge of the post-capitalist society [is] the productivity of knowledge work and the knowledge worker” and it requires “knowledge executives who know how to allocate knowledge to productive use.” Power and control, according to Drucker, exists in tension within the “dichotomy … between ‘intellectuals’ and ‘managers,’ the former concerned with words and ideas, the latter with people and work.”It is the managers who understand the knowledge worker and are able to build constructive relationships that will be effective and successful in a knowledge driven society.
If we make a corollary between knowledge and information, Drucker prophetically describes the information society we live in today. Information technology has transformed the social, religious, economic, and political order from both a local and global perspective. Learning how to productively utilize information and the workers (virtually everyone) who understand, control and create the technology that distributes information, is an essential element of leadership in an information driven society. Author Charlene Li in Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead, portrays this as “a culture of sharing”  Managing information through social technology requires the shifting and sharing of power and control.
Li promotes the central concept of her book at the Open Leadership website:
‘Be Open, Be Transparent, Be Authentic’ are the current leadership mantras – but companies often push back. Traditionally business is premised on the concept of control and yet the new world order demands openness. Open Leadership … offers the next step resource that shows leaders how to tap into the power of the social technology revolution and use social media to be “open” while maintaining control. … [O]penness requires more — not less — rigor and effort than being in control.”
Li presents a progressive approach to understanding and engaging the impact and use of social technology. The action plans that conclude each step in the process provide a path to assessing where an organization’s leadership is in allowing the openness needed to implement social media technology and the willingness to become an open organization. The most fundament step, the place an organization must begin, is to realize that social technology has changed the leadership role of executives and an open, inclusive style of leadership is necessary. Li notes “that there has been a fundamental shift in power, one in which individuals have the ability to broadcast their views to the world.” The result is the organization’s leaders must recognize “they are not in control” rather the “customers, employees, and partners are” in control. Taking this initial step allows the organization to assess where, how, and the effective path to structure an open, sharing leadership.
Understanding the rules of open leadership and the elements of openness to creating trust through transparent and authentic leadership, Li’s concepts are straight forward, yet deep and comprehensive. A key to understanding and implementing open leadership is the wealth of examples Li uses to illustrate and give credibility to the concepts and practice of openness in leadership.
As I perused the chapters and highlighted the concepts and practices, I liked most the “open-driven objectives” to learn, dialogue, support, and innovate. The organization should be proactive, seeking to engage and involve the whole organization by encouraging dialogue. As Li notes there are road-blocks to having open dialogue but the outcome is worth the intentional effort with the key being relationships that “are more long-term focused, personal, and intimate.” Building inclusive, long term relationships allows open leadership to be broad based by relating across the total spectrum of the organization; this effort is illustrated through the “engagement pyramid” that encourages and mentors openness.
It is easy to fear social technology. Perhaps the greatest deterrent is the transparency that is necessary and the ease to misunderstand or misinterpret an electronic contact. Through social media we do develop an online personality that can “come off” more different than one’s traditional face-to-face personality. Although this is true in all organizations, I feel it is especially difficult for the church. A voice that misstates, misunderstands, or misrepresents cannot be easily counteracted or corrected or even engaged when it has gone out through social media.
 Peter Drucker, Post-Capitalist Society (New York, NY: Harper-Collins Publishers, 1993), 8.
 Ibid., 9.
 Charlene Li, Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead (San Frisco, CA: Josey-Bass, 2010), Kindle, 309.
 Charlene Li, “Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead” http://www.charleneli.com/research/open-leadership/ (accessed November 19, 2014).
 Li, Open Leadership, 320.
 Ibid., 360.
 Ibid., chapter 3.
 Ibid., 1100.