What’s Needed Next: A Culture of Candor – HBR.org

  • What’s Needed Next: A Culture of Candor – HBR.org – We’ll tackle upward communication first. Consider the results of an intriguing, relatively obscure study from the 1980s, in which organizational theorists Robert Blake and Jane Mouton examined NASA’s findings on the human factors involved in airline accidents. NASA researchers had placed existing cockpit crews—pilot, copilot, navigator—in flight simulators and tested them to see how they would respond during the crucial 30 to 45 seconds between the first sign of a potential accident and the moment it would occur. The stereotypical take-charge “flyboy” pilots, who acted immediately on their gut instincts, made the wrong decisions far more often than the more open, inclusive pilots who said to their crews, in effect, “We’ve got a problem. How do you read it?” before choosing a course of action.
Ted Eytan, MD