Tribal Knowledge Feature Articles

October 2008

The Candor Effect
By Jack Welch

Let's look at how candor leads to winning. There are three main ways.

First and foremost, candor gets more people in the conversation, and when you get more people in the conversation, to state the obvious, you get idea rich. By that, I mean many more ideas get surfaced, discussed, pulled apart, and improved. Instead of everyone shutting down, everyone opens up and learns. Any organization – or unit or team – that brings more people and their minds into the conversation has an immediate advantage.

Second, candor generates speed. When ideas are in everyone's face, they can be debated rapidly, expanded and enhanced, and acted upon. That approach – surface, debate, improve, decide – isn't just an advantage, it's a necessity in a global marketplace. You can be sure that any upstart five-person enterprise down the street or in Shanghai or in Bangalore can move faster than you to begin with. Candor is one way to keep up.

Third, candor cuts costs – lots – although you'll never be able to put a precise umber on it. Just think of how it eliminates meaningless meetings and b.s. reports that confirm what everyone knows. Think of how candor replaces fancy PowerPoint slides and mind-numbing presentations and boring off-site conclaves with real conversations, whether they're about company strategy, a new product introduction, or someone's performance.

Put all of its benefits and efficiencies together and you realize you just can't afford not to have candor.