January 22, 2016

‘Tis the start of a new year and with it, all the loftiness of resolutions, goals and expectations. But perhaps what we require is less about new ambition and more about renewed authenticity. If I were to identify a resolution for 2016, it would be about where I want to see more candor. And that is my new year’s wish for you: more candor – direct, respectful conversations. As we navigate 2016, let’s look for, model and demand candor in every important conversation. Here’s where we can start:

In the Conference Room

From “purposeful Darwinism” to “front-stabbing,” companies like Amazon and advertising firm Deutsch Inc. are being lauded for their brutal honesty. Conversely, there are organizations where honest conversation is also encouraged but in an overly-sensitive, “Kumbaya” way.

It seems the happy medium of authentic conversation is being squeezed out by these two extremes. Let’s recover the discourse that is:

  • honest (even when it’s hard to say and harder to hear)
  • direct (no unnecessary padding or avoidance)
  • and respectful – because without respect, it’s not a conversation, it’s demeaning or an attack.

These candid conversations are where we’ll uncover challenges, discover the best ways and right people to overcome them, and move forward with clarity and inspiration. This is when velocity towards those ambitious 2016 goals will skyrocket.

On the Campaign Trail

It’s an election year, and if history repeats itself, the campaign trail will be fraught with hotly contested – and often disrespectful – arguments on party platforms. What if there were more candor? More authentic, robust discussion and less mud-slinging? Michael Sandel, political philosopher and Harvard professor says:

A better way to mutual respect is to engage directly with the moral convictions citizens bring to public life, rather than to require that people leave their deepest moral convictions outside politics before they enter. 

Sandel believes our political debates – and therefore the choices we make as voters and the entire democratic process – will be more relevant, compelling and effective when we understand how our candidates think and what their core beliefs are.

Candor also requires us to explore the root of our own core beliefs and perceptions – and those of others – and it requires us to examine the facts. If our 2016 election is to be any different, we must find thoughtful, respectful ways to debate, discuss and defend our own moral convictions.

2016 is underway – and so, too, is the call for more candor.