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Time for leaders to practice radical transparency

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in Leaders & Managers

It took the failure of Lehman Brothers and the devastation of Wall Street for many executives to admit that their policy of “legislated optimism” wasn’t working.

At Lehman and others, the message was always upbeat and information coated with whitewash. The day before JPMorgan Chase acquired Bear Stearns for a paltry $2 a share, CEO Alan Schwartz assured everyone that things were fine.

Leaders are increasingly replacing the culture of “Trust me! We’re fine!” with a policy of radical transparency, which invites the truth from others, so you can fix what needs fixing. It allows for experimentation, mistakes, dead ends.

Tip: Try starting a blog for actively soliciting and acting on complaints, successes and suggestions from employees and customers.

— Adapted from “A Bold Alternative to the Worst ‘Best’ Practices of Business,” BusinessWeek.

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