When Honesty Makes You Stand Out

August 4, 2015

HonestyMany years ago, a few Marriott International executives waited in our boardroom to update me on a hotel project I was really excited about.

The group apparently killed time by talking about what a terrible idea my project was, but when I walked in and enthusiastically asked, “So, how’s my project looking?” they responded positively.

All except for one junior executive who had not opened his mouth. I noticed this and asked him what he thought.

He explained why the project was a disaster in the making -  using the same examples the team had cited before I entered.

I paused to think and then replied, “You know, you’re absolutely right. Kill it.”

I tell this to make two points: One, most people will do anything to avoid sharing bad news, and two, thank goodness there are a few hardy souls who will.

Regardless of where you are in the company, you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up. If your company retaliates against honesty, it’s probably not a place you want to work.

How does your company react to bad news? Does your boss encourage you to share honest opinions?

I'm Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep me Marriott on the Move.

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