‘… Harvard talks candor, Jack Welch repeatedly stress on candor. However, we barely witness it in practice! Academia and Practice are full of failures and frauds in Enron, Lehman Brothers … But where are the successful role models which instill and institutionalize candor in practice and beyond PR! we need someone to walk the talk.’- Mouaz

The concept of transparency is getting renewed attention with the financial crisis. If, say, Lehman Brothers had allowed a freer flow of information, or made it easier for employees to raise their concerns about risk, the argument goes, they might not have collapsed.

But we’ve heard this all before. The implosion of Enron and WorldCom in 2002 brought similar calls for candor. And in the 1990s, the digital economy was supposed to make transparency mandatory–how else could empowered knowledge workers innovate on Internet time?

Why, then, are we still talking about the “mushroom theory of leadership,” where executives keep employees in the dark and feed them manure?

James O’Toole and Warren Bennis, in an article in the current HBR, blame our all-too-human insecurities. Managers, they say, hoard and control information as a source and perk of power. Some managers may genuinely feel that employees aren’t smart or broad-minded enough to use the information appropriately, but those feelings probably arise more from their own snobbery than reality. And executive succession policies, say O’Toole and Bennis, can feed the process by implicitly rewarding the manager insecure enough to elbow the competition up the ladder.

…read this article at Harvard Business Review here: http://blogs.harvardbusiness.org/hbr/hbreditors/2009/06/what_a_culture_of_candor_reall.html

What a Culture of Candor Really Takes
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