Share: Candor in the Workplace
Learning from others who have already gone down the beaten path can be super beneficial for those looking to join successful entrepreneurs and hopefully learn from their mistakes and gain valuable business knowledge. The Stanford business school does a great job of uploading lectures from successful entrepreneurs speaking in their school and you don’t have to pay $50,000 in tuition. This truly is a deal.
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Candor in the Workplace
Expounding on the idea that what often drags talented teams down is simply a lack of straightforward conversation, Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001, describes how “candor in the workplace” keeps great teams great, and why growing organizations should seek to keep the honesty that is often present in small startups.
At the beginning the interview, Welch makes a brilliant point about how straightforward talk grows in a company’s culture by being rewarded. He is asked by the interviewer, “You say, ‘Let me tell you about the biggest, dirty little secret in business.’ That in every culture, every country, in every society and social class there is this lack of candor. Why is that so important, why is it so hard, and how do you change that?” Welch’s response:
It’s quite good in a small startup, where people are all comfortable with each other, they know what the mission is, they understand the values, they reward the values and they go after it with a passion. In a bureaucracy it tends to get more and more subjected to pressures from the side, from the top, from underneath.
People are afraid to speak out. And what it does, it slows you down. It really doesn’t improve the workplace…This morning I was in San Jose with about 500 executives from startup companies, and tech companies (Intel and others), and I asked…how many people thought they had straightforward relationships in their company—with their peers and with their associates.
I didn’t get four hands. It’s sort of frightening that people are sitting in an organization and don’t feel that people are laying it on straight, and telling it like it is. In the end, you get the behaviors you reward. If you reward candor, if you reward straightforward talk, you will get it.
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