AINsight: Radical Transparency—Life in a Fishbowl

 - July 3, 2019, 10:32 AM

Isn’t it great to think we are a part of an industry that is waking up to the idea that good ethical behavior and transparency is not an option but a mandate? For too many years, full disclosure by all involved in a preowned aircraft transaction could not be assumed to be the norm. In fact, many knew that was not the norm. It was right below the surface. Third-party undisclosed payments and finders’ fees being paid were just the way business was done. By the way, the problem was not limited to the buying and selling side of the business. MRO and paint and interior shops, as well as engine overhaul shops, were all acting with this silent process.

I have written several times about NBAA issuing a statement of ethics paper two years ago. That is a perfect acknowledgment of the focus, direction, and vision of our industry. I am on the board of one of the most renowned animal science foundations in the world, Morris Animal Foundation. I was at our quarterly board meeting a couple of weeks ago and one of the slides said the organization operates as if it is in a fishbowl with “radical transparency.” I was struck by that phrase. Radical transparency is the belief that all corporate entities should be honest, open, and straightforward.

I am proud to say that this relatively new awareness in our industry shows that most are embracing the idea of being good stewards to our internal partners and employees, our clients, and our fellow industry professionals. After all, it is high time that we as owners and operators of the industry's businesses control the narrative of the discussion that surrounds us. No longer should it be buyer and seller beware. No longer should those on the outside have a critical negative dialog that centers on bad practices or bad experiences doing business with an industry participant. Better for us to toot our own ethical horns.

We as an industry do not have a policing arm. We do not have overarching abilities to sniff out our own bad actors and separate them from our industry. We hopefully are starting to have an awareness of the bad or questionable actions that can cause unsuspecting clients to have a negative sales experience.

So, remember we all work in a fishbowl environment. We are always on display so the good and bad are on display. Some bad is delivered so skillfully that it cannot always be recognized for what it really is at the time. I might also mention that radical transparency in the workplace or in an industry must be true to form. If not practiced as a workplace mantra, it cannot be projected outwardly into the industry the business serves. Conversely, if a player is not acting ethically to the people they serve in the business arena, chances are they are not actually acting that way to those affected internally, their employees.

We are at a very exciting crossroads and we must continue to seize this as an awareness extravaganza.

Jay Mesinger is the CEO and Founder of Mesinger Jet Sales, an international aircraft brokerage firm. With 46 years of successfully buying and selling aircraft, Mesinger Jet Sales has a global reputation for personalized, transparent service.


This is a big step forward for our industry when it comes to preowned transactions. When will NBAA follow this example and be transparent in the governing of the association?