The danger of always being too positive
“My single biggest personal improvement as CEO occurred on the day when I stopped being too positive”.
This is a quote from Ben Horowitz on p. 64 of his formidable book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things
This quote and the one below resonated with me a few months ago when I was working with participants in a Delivering memorable messages programme. One of the participants made the following remark about a senior executive in the organisation.
“Yeah, x is alway putting a positive spin on everything.” (with a tone of voice that implied x was being too positive and lacking the candour to say a situation was less than positive).
In his book, Horowitz makes another point on too much positivity, through a comment his brother-in-law made to him about a senior executive. “Yeah, I know Fred. He comes by about once a quarter to blow a little sunshine up my ass”.
The above points appear in a chapter of the book, aptly named, CEOs should tell it like it is.
Your CALL to action/HOW to apply for this post: Over the next seven days in your interactions with your direct reports, reflect on whether you’re being too positive. If you are, consider how you could be more frank about the inevitable challenges you and the organisation are facing.
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