Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, once shared a “dirty little secret” about business: A certain quality can effectively chain an organization to mediocrity if it is not developed. That quality is candor.
Likewise, Carlos Brito, CEO of InBev, says companies can never grow unless they face up to the negative truth as well as the positive. "I like people that can tell me the good and the bad with the same urgency and clarity," he says.
Hudl, a sports video software company based in Lincoln, Nebraska, has a system for honest feedback that they refer to as #RealTalk. It’s a phrase used to inspire genuine candor among the team. Hudl co-founder John Wirtz says RealTalk— one of six values read off at the start of each company retreat—has been “absolutely critical” to the company’s success.
Not every company has a culture like Hudl’s, but every organization must recognize that candor is an art. While honest feedback about performance is imperative, “brutal” honesty that picks people apart is more demoralizing than enlightening. Getting the balance right ensures that trust will grow and that conflicts can be mined for their productive value.
We want to hear: Does your workplace value candor, and how do you go about delivering honest feedback in a constructive way? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
6/4/2015 01:46:51 am
The concept of candor was discussed by a brilliant Harvard B-school professor, Chris Argyris, many years ago in a book that I re-read a lot. Its title is "Overcoming Organizational Defenses." You can Google both the author's name and the title and learn more about both.
6/4/2015 02:30:48 am
What an important insight, Dick. Chris Argyris's point about the subtle and not so subtle ways of discouraging candor appears way too often in many organizations. Thank you for sharing this insight with our e-community.
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