Honesty and transparency can sometimes cause a company headaches. Never let them see you sweat, right? Everything’s OK, nothing to see here… until the doors close. However, being up front with people can also buy you a new lease on life.
Read Carol Roth’s blog post about a pizza business in dire straits, the brutally honest email he sent to everyone on his email list, and the surprising reaction.
Note that he had PR people trying to talk him out of sending this email. They felt a crisis would ensue. Would this publicity crisis been any worse than the financial crisis he was facing? Another thing to consider here is that a similarly revealing email written in a more negative tone would have been a total flop. Had he adopted a “woe is me” attitude, his message would not have resonated, and would have likely alienated everyone. This is not to say that he wasn’t feeling negative at the time. Of course he was! He was about to close his business and put a bunch of people out of work. But he put on his brave pants and wrote a heartfelt message in an honest, humble tone, and the email’s recipients were able to wade through his words and understand what was at stake.
I am a huge fan of such communication.