Bill Fox

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“He said what?!”

Have you ever had the same conversation with someone multiple times over? You’ve talked to Jimmy three times in the past quarter but the message hasn’t gotten through. Despite your best efforts and professionalism, the problem continues to occur. Maybe its time for a tactical change not only for you, but your organization as well. Let’s talk about the embracing of candor by organizations across the world.

Companies everywhere are switching their approach in how they communicate with each other. Gone are the soft conversations, steeped in cautionary words, used for fear of upsetting feelings or causing an incident. Words and conversations replaced by blunt, honest feedback on performance on strategy. Sometimes called “radical candor”, “frontstabbing”, “mokita”, or “fierce conversations”, candor within an organization can improve how you engage your employees. Different variations of the strategy exist, including Apple’s famous “Fearless Feedback”. No matter the name or the method, the message is clear, when you are candid, your company is more productive.

“I see your point.”

These companies are not embracing a culture of candor simply because they are bored. Moving your company in this direction can have a powerful effect on your organization and your employees. The increase in candid conversations builds a deeper, more trusting relationship between all those involved. When people are truthful to each other, respect grows for those involved and their opinion. An increase in trust in the organization will lead to happier employees and happier employees are more productive employees.

In addition to the employee engagement benefits of candor, implementing the practice also has a very obvious benefit: clarity. When you do not mince words within your conversations, nothing can be misconstrued. With pointed, direct feedback, employees are better coached and understand the impact of the message being delivered. Often times, conversations are too “nice” and end in an effort to avoid confrontation, causing projects to stall, resentment to foster, and poor performance to run wild. Candid conversations break through these struggles.

“What can I do?”

Nothing happens overnight and we know it is not enough to just say “Our company is candid now!” It doesn’t always work that way and real effort will need to be put into establishing such a culture. There are key aspects that your organization will need to embrace in order for this initiative to be a success. SHRM outlines critical aspects to train your employees on when making the approach. Below are some highlights to keep in mind, click on the article to learn more.

  • Help, not harm – Start every conversation with the intent to make things better, not belittle or hurt the recipient of the conversation. This includes having a plan for what you want to accomplish in the conversation ahead of time.
  • Be Precise – Use specific examples to illustrate your point. Without examples, the conversation is a matter of opinion and lacks the direct facts to make an impact.
  • Describe your emotions but use nonjudgemental language – Make an effort to emphasize the importance of the conversation and why it matters. Do it tactfully as well.
  • Be Prepared – People will be defensive during the conversation. Be bold in your message you are communicating and understand that it will not be an easy conversation.

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