The other day I was talking with a colleague that I collaborate with about how to communicate our working relationship to Transparency in Businesspotential clients. I am pretty transparent in all my dealings because I value honesty and an open relationship. I learned that not everyone feels the same way.

We got to talking about a recent job she bid on. She told the client up front that there was a portion of the programming work that she would not be doing but instead would be working with and using software that another organization provides. The client was thrilled to hear her say this because they said the very reason they chose not to work with another vendor was because the vendor concealed the fact that a portion of their work would be done by another business. Score one for being open and honest in business communications!

In today’s world which is dripping with fake and insincere messages, people are just dying for something real. When it comes to working one on one with someone whose business involves providing a service like mine does (coaching and web consulting), it is even more important to be authentic. Who wants to hire a plastic fake?

I thought this was an interesting perspective over at The Authenticity Book:

And here’s exactly where the greatest learning happened for me. We define authenticity in business as “conformance to self-image” – that what consumers choose to buy must reflect who they are and who they aspire to be in relation to how they perceive the world. Well, the opposite of real, then, is self-conformance to brand image – getting people to change who they are to match what a company wants to promote as its own brand attributes. That’s what advertising tries to do, relentlessly, pervasively, mercilessly.

It is really just another take on the “know, like, and trust” factor that goes into working with someone. People buy from people they know, like, and trust. If you are trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes either intentionally or not, you are going to lose out in the end.

This can take many forms — lying on your resume, overstating you abilities on what you can deliver, or covering up work that is not your own and claiming it is. Some people try to fake it because they are desperate, others have no clue that they are even doing it, and yet others are so insecure and fearful about their own selves that they see no other way than to pretend to be someone they are not. Now that whole pretending thing is something that the LGBT community can relate to because we are often spend at least a portion of our lives in the closet (even if we don’t really want to).

When I work with web clients I am totally up front that I collaborate with a graphic designer. I am not a logo designer nor do I want to be, so how would it serve me to try and cover that up? While the work is all done under the umbrella of my company, I am clear that there are other folks involved in the design element of the job. I assure them that they get a MUCH superior product that way, and that they are welcome to speak with her one on one at any point in the process. I explain that my only claim to fame was a bunch of stick figures I drew in grade school. Not what most small businesses want as a look and feel for their business’ web site, right?

So, when you’re faced with a dilemma like this, what would you do? Are you transparent in our dealings and potential conflicts of interest? Or, do you do certain things in the open and hide other aspects of your professional dealings in the proverbial closet? Looking forward to hearing your stories and thoughts in the comments.

Paula Gregorowicz is the Comfortable in Your Own Skin(tm) Coach and author of the 12 part eCourse on How to Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin which you can download for FREE at and her blog .