Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Truth To Power

Back in late March, I wrote a post called Client Service And Idi Amin. It was essentially a tale of speaking truth to power and managing some of the issues that arise when we're faced with such a situation and their relevance to client service. I used a scene from the movie The Last King of Scotland to illustrate the point.

Today at Talentzoo.com, you'll find my guest column titled Truth to Power, based in large part on that blog post and expanded to cover issues that arose from the resulting comments and conversation. Let me post the first three paragraphs of the article. If it intrigues you, I invite you to go to Talentzoo.com to read the piece in its entirety and offer your insights and comments either there or back here! Thanks!

Truth To Power

In an article by USC Professor Warren Bennis titled Followership, he notes: "In a world of growing complexity, leaders are increasingly dependent on their subordinates for good information, whether the leaders want to hear it or not. Followers who tell the truth, and leaders who listen to it, are an unbeatable combination.

"Movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn seems to have had a gut-level awareness of the importance of what I call "effective backtalk" from subordinates. After a string of box-office flops, Mr. Goldwyn called his staff together and told them: 'I want you to tell me exactly what's wrong with me and MGM, even if it means losing your job.'"

Let's face it, the same holds true for outside counsel of any kind advising a client. The only question we have to ask ourselves is: Are we selfless enough and courageous enough to speak truth to power? Is it enough just to speak truth to power, or do you we have to actually be successful at it? How far can and should you push your point of view?...

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