Thursday 3rd Oct 2019
However, you define candor – the quality of being open and honest, frank, direct, straightforward, plain-speaking, calling a spade a spade or merely telling it like it is – the importance of candor in your workplace shouldn’t be underestimated.
Now and again you come across a book which inspires you; it’s like meeting someone with whom you built instant rapport. Well, I came across that very book and person – Jack Welch.
I’ve been a raving fan of his for a long time, he speaks from the heart and says it precisely as it is. Not a bad success formula considering what he’s achieved in his time.
During his forty-year career at General Electric (GE), he led the company to year-after-year success around the globe in multiple markets and against brutal competition. His ‘honest and be the best’ style of management became the gold standard in business, with his relentless focus on people, teamwork, and profits. If you’ve not read his book Winning, I strongly recommend you do.
In his book, Jack talks specifically about why candor in your workplace is essential.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of candor. But since retiring from GE, I’ve come to realise that I underestimated its rarity. I would call the lack of candor the biggest dirty secret in business. What a huge problem it is. Lack of candor blocks smart ideas, fast action, and good people contributing all the stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer. When you’ve got candor, everything operates faster and better.’
He then goes on to talk about the ‘Candor Effect’ and how candor leads to winning in business in three main ways;
‘Candor gets more people in the conversation.’
‘Candor generates speed.’
‘Candor cuts costs’
Now let’s explore these in a little more detail.
How refreshing is it to have a vibrant debate with opinions, ideas and feedback without judgement or prejudice. Yes, some left-field ideas may present themselves, but isn’t it best to hear them and then discount them, rather than to have never heard them at all?
As part of the process, everyone opens up and learns, and to quote Jack ‘any organisation that brings more people and their minds into the conversation has an immediate advantage.’
You may be thinking a lively debate will slow things down, but the opposite is true. When ideas are thrown around, they can be debated, analysed, reviewed, discounted or enhanced. Jack calls it the ‘surface, debate, improve, decide’ approach giving you a straight line to decisive decisions and actions.
Straight talking, real conversations which result in decisive decisions and actions will cut costs. Candor will reduce the number of meetings for meeting’s sake, powerpoint slides and presentations and pointless conversations that didn’t move you or the business forward.
There’s a saying ‘great work is contingent on a willingness to be judged’. How true is that;
…a candid performance review praising you when you do well and letting you know when you’ve missed the mark.
…a candid meeting rich in conversation and differing viewpoints, working towards one common goal.
…a candid conversation getting things moving in the right direction, quicker and faster.
Candor in the workplace….are there conversations you need to have, but you’ve put them off for another day?
Well, perhaps that day has arrived?