July 20, 2015

Every organization has both periods of tough challenge and of incredible opportunity. In times of struggle, we often anticipate a breakdown in processes or with people.  And even in times of great success, teams and achievements can begin to unravel leaving us mystified about the root causes.  Or, we may be facing a wonderful prospect for growth and yet no one is clear on how to achieve it.

In all of these cases, as leaders, we tend to focus our thinking on the right tactics to solve the problems. In fact, a lack of candor could be the underlying issue.  Are you stalled? Consider these signs that candor is missing from your organization:

  • Employees seem uninspired and/or disengaged, and there may be more turn-over than usual.
  • Individuals and teams aren’t achieving short-term goals or major milestones.
  • Decisions regarding retention, hiring and promoting are avoided (or, conversely, overly-rushed). Hiring managers are choosing to “settle” in their choice of new employees.
  • Customer loyalty and engagement are low.

If any of these feel familiar, refocusing on candor will make a significant improvement. When candor is present within an organization, decisions become clear and manageable. Employees are connected and highly-accountable. Commitments to benchmarks and goals are solid and attainable. Customers are eager to work with you.  Momentum is unstoppable.

A prescription for candor isn’t a particularly difficult one, but is one that requires dedication to the effort. It starts with leadership modeling the behavior and presenting an environment that is open and honest, without judgment or belittlement. It comes full circle when employees from the ground up return the gift of candor – by offering their truth, remaining accountable to the mission and goals of the organization.

This blog kicks off a five-part series over the remainder of the summer, each blog addressing one of the situations listed above and sharing how candor can make positive impact. It’s never too late to grow your culture of candor and realize better relationships and outcomes.