TomTALKS: Tell the Truth at the Moment it Counts

This post was originally published on TomTALKS.


Continuing with our six part series on the five key attributes of NetApp’s culture, Tom talks about the one that resonates most with middle tier management in companies – candor. Join Tom as he tells us why it’s important to tell the truth at the moment it counts.



Couldn't agree more. Afraid that reality isn't like that. Most things are said outside the conference room. And I don't blame those people because whenever I raised a point my superiors felt offended which usually affected my relationship with them negatively. It even goes as far as we are told to "shut up". Not always (but sometimes) literally but we get the sense.

The main problem seems to be that the majority of the people affected by changes aren't involved in the decision making and are only spoken to once the decision has been made. At this point the manager/director/VP has already committed himself and any deviation from the plan looks like a failure to him/her (that is an assumption of mine). Let us pick an example. From day one most of the support engineers in this company would have realized immediately that we need specialization in order to fix our customers problems. We raised this point repeatedly but it took a change of upper management and many years for it to happen. Why? I assume because blaming the wrong direction on the prior (gone) manager is much easier than admitting that one has made a wrong decision.

There was a nice article in Forbes about what good managers do and one of main points was "listen to your employees". This has two benefits: a) it can make NetApp as a company more successful by getting first hand knowledge and the chance for improvement. b) employees enjoy their work more since they are involved and create their own workplace.

Here are some nice articles that basically sum it up. The second one is what it boils down to.

So say we all!

Candor is a goal we strive for al all time. Are we always successful everywhere? Absolutely not and likely never will be. It has to be driven by the leadership equally across the organization globally. I think it is a worthwhile goal and that we have had significant successes because of candor in mnay different organizations. With that said, I agree we have a long way to go.