Among all the challenges that organizations face today, the one least talked about is candor. When was the last time you heard someone at work be truly open, honest or frank? If you are like most individuals it has been a while. There seems to be no room for candor in today’s organization.

The lack of candor in organizations is stifling creativity and innovation. New ideas will not emerge and change cannot occur until there is candor. It may not be the organization but a few individuals in the organization that discourage you from being direct, or speaking the truth.

It reminds you of the famous line from the movie A Few Good Men, where Jack Nicholson said, “You can’t handle the truth.” Perhaps part of the reason is that we find it hard to accept something that goes against what we have known to be true for so long.

How many times do you feel compelled to speak up, only to sit back and keep it to yourself? How many meetings do you leave and regret that you didn’t say what was on your mind? Candor is something that organizations need more than ever.

Intrapreneurs are known for their candor. They tend to be open, honest and transparent. Being passionate about what they are doing, they are not afraid to express themselves. They have the self confidence to be direct and get to the point. Yet, they find themselves in environments where candor is not always appreciated or rewarded. It stifles the very thing that organizations need, new thinking.

The reality is that at some point intrapreneurs stop being candid. Even though it is against their nature, they soon learn that speaking out just pushes them further from what is deemed acceptable. They struggle with the challenge of staying silent when they know there is a better way. They soon learn that it is not worth pushing a new idea when it will only get shot down. They realize that the organization really doesn’t want to hear what they have to say.

What is it about candor that makes us feel uncomfortable? What is it about truth telling that we don’t understand?

The German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer stated, “Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self evident.”

Think about all the new inventions that would not exist today if we did not have individuals willing to be direct, frank and candid about what they thought.

Isn’t it time we looked at candor as a way to instill new thinking in our organizations.


bestofBest of Intrapreneur Series Articles. Reprint – August 2010

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