12.6.2012

Trust Less = Stupid More.

Enough already with this coy business-speak about “playing things close to the vest”.

That works when you’re playing cards. Not running a business.

In a game of poker, it’s you against everyone else in the room. But when you’re leading a company, more communication works better than less.

Business leaders who take special pride in their ability to “play things close to the vest” just make it painfully clear to everyone around them that they don’t trust their senior executives.

Which is odd, because they  were the one who probably hired that executive in the first place. Or at least signed off on the hire.

This type of behavior is just pathetically self-destructive passive aggression.

Nothing more than failed attempts at letting employees know that you can make their work life frustrating and confusing.

Employees who actually benefit by knowing more.

So what should you do if you’re a leader who struggles with trust?

  1. See the sunlight. Watch the flowers grow. Get a different perspective on what really matters.
  2. Join a group of CEO peers so that you can build relationships with people that you can trust.
  3. Get a therapist. Find someone that you can talk to. Deal with your intimacy issues.

Don’t pretend like you’re a good leader because you’re cutting off communication to people that could make you wildly successful.

That’s just stupid.


  • Kasparov

    I see this with strategy. The whole top management team will produce a secret strategy for market domination that will blow their competitors out of the water. Naturally, they never share it with the underlings. What happens? It fails.

    Strategy needs to be simple and give guidance to an operative at any level for making a decision. A good strategy will work even if the competition know it – to be honest they probably know already from watching the moves you make. If you’re aiming to be the price leader, let the employees know so it can be reflected in their design, marketing and purchasing decisions.

    The time for secrecy is for tactical decisions. No one seems to write about these; it’s either strategy, or ops. Tactics sit in the middle. These will be campaigns to take market share in line with the strategy. For these land-grabs, you don’t want opposition action or worse, to be scooped. However, these are short campaigns, there should be full disclosure within the team and is only necessary for a small subset of tactical projects.

    The general rule is that the more people understand, the happier and more effective they are.

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      Great points, Kasparov.

  • http://markharai.com/ Mark Harai

    I think we are clearly seeing the advantages of open communication and benefits it will gain a company with both recruiting talent and winning the trust and business from consumers.

    Still LMAO at #1 Hahaha! – - I’ve have to figure out where to use that somewhere.

    Happy Holidays, Dan!

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      Happy Holidays, Mark. Despite my craziness, there is some take-away here. All these silly business games are just nutty…

      Dan

  • http://twitter.com/CELESMURRAY Celes Murray

    Dan, I always find beneficial insight on your blog. Love it
    Respect, Relationship, Trust tend to = Loyalty + Revenue

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      I like your formula better than mine… :-)

      Dan

  • http://www.skipprichard.com/ Skip Prichard

    Yes! When the leader doesn’t communicate, it creates a vacuum. It’s filled with rumors, innuendos, and stories that create fear, uncertainty, doubt and chaos. Open and honest communication is always the best strategy. There may be times when the timing is important, and you can’t always share everything for legal or other reasons…but the principle remains.

    • http://www.DanWaldschmidt.com/ Dan Waldschmidt

      Well said, Skip. If there’s nothing be said from people who matter, what get’s said will just be about fear and conjecture. And that’s never healthy.

      Dan

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