Jack Welch is a winner. In his many years as the head of General Electric he has proven himself as more than competent at leading a corporation and it’s people to great success. Mr. Welch, after working his way up the corporate ladder became CEO of GE in 1981 and held that position for 20 years. These days he shares his secrets, and personal insights to thousands of people through his books and speaking engagements.
Recently I read the book Winning by Jack Welch. It’s filled with lots of ideas about how to best manage a company. One of those ideas that will make company competitive is the importance of candor within the organization.
Candor is about open and free flowing conversation. When you’ve got candor everything operates faster and better. To most North Americans real candor is unnatural, that’s why it takes many many years to really develop the kind of candidness that will really make a business efficient. A lack of candor within an organization doesn’t mean there is malevolent dishonesty, just that people are not frank about their opinions and emotions, they don’t communicate straightforwardly and encourage productive debates. Many people prefer to keep quiet and save face when having a discussion with other people, especially superiors. That can backfire because nobody makes the best decisions all the time, and without input from everyone on the team eventually a decision will be made without some vital fact being known; then you have to deal with the consequences.
HalOtis, as a new company, has to be very mindful of it’s developing culture to make sure that candidness is encouraged both up and down the corporate ladder. Being honest about company performance lets everyone know when things are getting tight or when things are going good. The more they know the better they will understand and respect corporate decisions. It’s also important for lower level people to feel comfortable sharing their insights with their supervisors. Those are the people that can identify inefficiencies and propose better solutions.
Jack Welch won and he considers candor to be one of biggest reasons why he did.