Feedback matters

Today I had another meeting with another smart person to talk about digital transformations. He sits on a board of a large multinational company that has been around for a while.

It was another meeting with a lot of nodding: we both agreed that the digital transformation would make a lot of money for the company, and that without it it was a matter of time that the company would first stop growing, and then quickly start struggling.

The meeting still finished with an overarching feeling on both sides that nothing will be done by the company’s management. Conservatism, or rather lack of foresight of the future burning platform, will mean that excuses will be made – not to move, to preserve status quo, and to continue the slow slide into oblivion.

The culture of any organisation can only be blamed by a very myopic person. At the end of the day the buck stops with the boss. “The culture of any organisation will over time evolve to the lowest behaviour that a leader is willing to tolerate”.

Leadership cannot be a hobby that CEOs practice when the times are good. It is how they act in the face of the struggle that separates the great bosses from the good ones. Being a great leader sometimes requires difficult decisions and tough conversations. Have you ever had to fire someone? If so, which one do you think is easier – firing one under-performing person on your team, or sweeping problems created by that person under a carpet and waiting for them to explode?

Sometimes I feel that the only thing that is required from any person working in a high performing team is their attitude and openness of mind – ability to take feedback from anyone, and assessing it in an objective manner to see if it is true, and then acting on it.

And it is everyone’s job to give that feedback.

“Truth is like poetry. Unfortunately, most people fucking hate poetry.”