My Experiment with Candour

 Constructive crystal clear thinking….moment of enlightenment happen once in a blue moon. We go about the grind, huffing and puffing our way through it everyday ready even at the slightest provocation to loose our cool and show all the frustration that has been building within.
Happens to all of us . Well, what I am going to say is not going to be a detailed account of one such experience. It´s just a forethought that will help me canoe my discussion to the point I often ponder over.  Management is an experiment, a pretty successful one at that, and so is every little thing that we associate with corporate culture nowadays. There is no dearth of books that go on and on about management principles, ideals. We have a fair account of almost all successful businessmen, entrepreneurs and CEOs to the extent that they sound repetitive after you have gone through your share of gyaan  (To be precise).  However, there is one management principle that you would not have heard of often and in most cases people shy about referring to it directly sometimes because of the fear of sounding too brash and sometimes because they don´t really see the worth in it
. It is CANDIDNESS. It might surprise you that this is even considered a principle in management, because we like to believe that corporate culture is about something else. Right ? We believe sugar coated sentences, hazy comments and being politically correct all the time are more suited to go along with the word CORPORATE. Well, in that case it might be just a barrier of the mind, your mind if you feel that. Your perception might be standing in the way of the crystal clear constructive thinking I was referring to when I started this piece.

The most famous person I can recall who advocated this strategy was Jack Welch. GE is the only company that has propogated it and promoted it as their way of execution. Welch´s exact words –
Candor in business — or in any kind of organization — is a rare and wondrous thing. Rare because very few companies have it. Wondrous because when they do, everything just operates faster and better.”
When I joined Procter & Gamble, I knew for sure that candor always worked for me in real life, and it is such a deeply ingrained habit that I knew I just could not change it, so I thought why not experiment and adopt it as a principle when I started my innings with Procter & Gamble (Sorry maybe too much cricket has gotten into me due to all those world cup matches ). It would be an experiment as I was not sure how it would be treated, I did not even know much about the way P&G operated – all I knew was that this is the best way I can personally operate as it minimizes wastage of time, and when people realize you are not the one to mince words, they start taking you seriously. Not only that, people also begin to trust you and open up to you.
There might be another school of thought that candidness will hurt others’ feelings and drive them away. However I believe candidness doesn´t imply being overtly hyper and reactive. Instead it instills openness and allows for collaboration amongst employees. It is true that candid comments definitely freak people out at first. In fact, the more polite or bureaucratic or formal your organization, the more your candor will scare and upset people, and yes, it could kill you. That´s a risk, and only you can decide if you are willing to take it. I was.
Initially I had my doubts, I wanted to test waters before getting too strict about it. But yes, after six months into the company I was sure that this is the best place to try it out, as I noticed everywhere everyone had a different style of operating, they had the freedom to do their work the way they wanted. There could not have been a better way to experiment with candor. There can be a flip side to it, if you get too aggressive about it, which you always need to control – the urge to over react and be overtly sensitive at times but if you can control it, this works like wonder and makes everything way smoother.
All in all, I knew everyone has a way of doing things, what matters is h
ow sure you are that your way will work, and also how you can mould it in a way so as to avoid confrontations. So, after a nine month experiment, I feel P&G is one of the organizations that can boast of the fact that they promote open dialogue, candor in all aspects of business. More than that, there is a room for each and every belief or principle, it just needs to be practiced in the right way. Might sound clichéd, but even I can now say – “Proud to be a part of such a company”.
If you fail to think crystal clear everyday, it is a barrier inside your mind that talking things straight will not work or might be a risk, all you need is the courage to be forthright about it and adopt the same as principle and take a vow to be forthright to others in your dealings as you expect them to be.
After all, Honesty is the best politics, can there be anything else that yields maximum results?!?!
—– Richa


3 thoughts on “My Experiment with Candour

  1. good one… encouraging the candour in ppl is a great thing… I wish the argument could well be extended to the entire country.. rather than the particular organization… I urge u to listen to the song "Jinhe naaz hai hind par, by Rabbi Shergil"

  2. we seldom find organizations or teams that respect or welcome candid attitude of people…. the more its encouraged, the more wonders one can see at places of work.. my comment might seem generic.., but if put to practice wud fetch gud results..atleast thtz my belief

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