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    « Living In The Tail | Main | Power and Powerlessness »

    December 29, 2004


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    Connie Sartain

    I haven't read anything in Scoble yet that is even critical, so maybe you can point me to something real and smart on that blog.

    It seems to me the issue is trust - which is why truthtelling is rare and among select friends. "Publishing", i.e. blogging essentially violates that premise, or compromises the truth. If it's positioned to 'not offend' the ceo or hr, then what's the point?

    In other words if you have to worry about being fired, your effectiveness in telling the truth is compromised.

    Tom Guarriello

    I think this post was pretty gutsy...addressed directly to Gates and asking him when they might do something cool.

    Taking the realities of our social circumstances into account when truthtelling is complicated, as we all know. First, we live in a social world, so we have to tell the truth in the context of our relationships. Each relationship has its own set of rules and conventions, sometimes simply by virtue of the roles involved in the relationship, sometimes because of the specific history of that particular relationship. What kind of language we use in telling what kinds of truth will be heavily influenced by those things.

    So, if I'm working on a project with a co-worker, our company "rule sets" (see Tom Barnett's excellent work on this idea) will go a long way in letting me know what's OK to talk about and what's not OK to talk about (it's never OK to talk about everything). In one setting, we might be able to openly talk about difficulties in working with another part of the organization; in another, that might be taboo. So, one is more encouraging of truthtelling...not in some purist, absolute sense, but taking the realities of our functional relationships into account. Intimate relationships are something else entirely.

    So, to your point, Connie, I think anyone working in a corporate environment always has to worry about being fired for saying things that violate the rule sets of the company for which they work. That's why I say that TrueTalk is not about being able to yell "fire" in a crowded theatre; it's not license to simple "let it rip," saying anything that comes to mind. What it is, for me, is encouraging everyone in the organization to address the issues that will help us better accomplish the things our we are being paid to accomplish; remember, these are business relationships, the reason they exist is so that we can produce results together. Honest communication that facilitates that accomplishment is what I'm trying to help organizations to encourage.

    So, I often tell clients, "hey, this isn't a religion, it's a business."

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