The Vaule of Candor

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

While candor is often trivialized or viewed as less than tasteful, it nonetheless rates very highly in my book. I want people to know where I stand, and vice-versa. I’m not suggesting that we don’t use tact in our communications, but people have become far too sensitive for my tastes. So my question is this: Have you been told that you have a bit of an edge? If so, you have likely found that it serves you very well. Let me be clear that when I refer to an edge I’m not talking about rough edges, or confusing an edgy presence with rude or arrogant behavior. What I am refering to is having a direct, no B.S. approach that allows you to get right to the heart of an issue in the shortest time-frame possible. 

On several occasions I’ve received that “I can’t believe you just said that” look from clients. In fact, one interaction in particular does a good job of conveying the value of having an edge…I had a client look directly at me and say: “If I spoke to my clients like that they would fire me right on the spot…How do you get away with that?” My question back to him was: “Why don’t you fire me?” His response: “because you tell me what I need to hear as opposed to what you think I want to hear, and I value that.” My reply: “That’s how I get away with it.”

Most people value candor, and if they don’t, I’ve found that they tend to live in an ego-centric, altered state of denial that will result in many unnecessary hardships. I coined the following phrase to address these delusional types: “Those who seek shelter in the wisdom of sound counsel must also be willing to take refuge there…Those unwilling to do the latter, really don’t value the former.” 

I’ve never been accused of being politically correct, or a shrinking violet. In fact, my edge is a large part of my competitive value proposition. I don’t sugar coat, gloss-over, or spin…rather I tell you what you need to hear, which is always the truth, regardless of whether or not it is easy to swallow. My clients tell me that having someone to hold them accountable, challenge their business logic, force them out of comfort zones, and tell them the truth is a rarity in the marketplace (remember that scarcity = value).

As a validation for what I’ve communicated above, among the most common requests received by coaching referral services are inquiries looking for “strong” coaches. The simple truth of the matter is that I’ve rarely encountered a successful professional advisor, entrepreneur, executive, or any leader for that matter who doesn’t have a bit of an edge. 

Here’s another question: How sharp is your edge? We’ve all come across those people in our lives who don’t just possess an edge, but they have taken their edge to a completely different level having honed it to a razor’s edge…These people not only possess the qualities espoused above, but they have also learned how to appropriately leverage their edge by using it for the right purpose at the right time. Whether they use their edge as a subtle carving tool used for shaping and refining, a surgical blade used to implement change, as a lightning rod for shock-and-awe purposes, or a defensive instrument of protection, they know when to use it, and when to keep it in check. So, I ask again…Do you have and edge, and if so, how sharp is your edge?


4 Responses to “The Vaule of Candor”

  1. 1 Pushkal February 16, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Mr. Myatt,

    Your post on candor made me wonder how honed my edge is in the past couple of years. Do you have any suggestions to help readers fine tune their edge?

    • 2 n2growthmyatt February 26, 2010 at 8:09 pm

      Hi Pushkal:

      Thanks for your comment. I’ve found that developing your edge comes mostly from becoming comfortable in your own skin. When you are confident in your abilities, and are focused on doing the right thing as opposed to doing things right, you will have found your edge. Best wishes Pushkal…

  2. 3 Shane Gager February 23, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Thank you, Mr. Myatt, for your refreshing comments. I have grown weary of all the sugar-coating that goes on for the purpose of personal gain in our society. I wish our leaders would stop pretending that our national economy is sound and somehow on the rebound. The truth is, it has a serious sickness (debt) and if we fail to face it and deal with it, it will overcome us.

    I realize that your article has a more broad meaning, but it certainly resonates with me on several distinct issues. Thank you.

    • 4 n2growthmyatt February 26, 2010 at 8:13 pm

      Hi Shane:

      Thanks for your comment. Regrettably I share your concern over current and proposed spending levels as they relate to the overall health of our economy. While certain indicators may be trending positive at the moment, unless we address the underlying systemic problems, we are only seeing the calm before the storm…

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