Eggshells or Omelettes

“Lack of candor blocks smart ideas, fast action, and good people contributing all the stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer.”

  • Jack Welch (1935 – 2020), American Executive and long-time CEO at GE

Yesterday, we talked about walking on eggshells, and how it is fundamentally chipping away at the quality of our discourse.

While Welch-bashing has become popular 20 years after his retirement (and two years after his death) as GE deals with the mistakes of his successors (and global market shifts), Welch was a great leader who built companies, careers and strategies for success.

All based on candor.

Instead of walking on eggshells, what if we focused on conversations that drove outcomes? What if we focused on the omelette versus the eggshell?

“Pat, that change you implemented to the proposal made a huge difference! Can you show the rest of the team how you reached that decision?”

“Jim, you’ve tried that three times now, and it’s failed every time. What are we learning? Can we agree that we’re not going to make that choice again?”

“Wow, was THAT a Rule #5 violation! Let’s go back to the moment we made the decision and dissect what we got wrong, and what we might have done better…”

“That deal came in 20% better margin than we expected. Let’s do a win review and see what pieces of it we can take forward to replicate the outcome…”

Direct, precise, actionable dialogue that says, “you / we were right,” or “you / we were wrong.” In either case, “what can we learn? How can we get better every day?”

Better than fretting over feelings and egos, outcome-led discussions — steeped in candor and transparency — will help us get to better destinations more quickly.

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