The importance of honest advice in times of company crisis

A newly published work by Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected entrepreneurs, has been making waves among C-suite executives for its pull-no-punches approach to problem solving.

The book, entitled The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers is a refreshingly un-sugarcoated analysis of issues involving layoffs, poaching employees and other gritty business topics. Below are bullet points summarizing some of the piece's most pressing messages:

  • Don't subscribe to politics. Office politics are impossible to avoid, but management is able to limit their impact on the company's practices and organization. To accomplish this, Horowitz advises granting rewards such as pay raises or promotions to the staff that accomplish the most toward moving the company forward, and not simply ambitious employees that have more interest in advancing their own career than making the company more effective.  
  • Be honest with your employees. Faking positivity in a down time can do more damage than good. Horowitz writes "a company that discusses its problems freely and openly can quickly solve them."  By not giving staff an accurate idea of the company's position, you run the danger of insulting your employees by implying they are unable to handle bad news or lack the skills needed to help the company succeed. 
  • Streamline communication. Horowitz stresses the importance of developing a process for regular feedback, and making the importance of communication understood by all team members. "In a vacuum of feedback, there is almost no chance that your company will perform optimally," he explains. 

If your company is struggling to find a new direction or is being bogged down by internal politics, contracting the services of an expert consultant can present new opportunities to move forward. At Xbig6, our consultants have an average of two decades of professional experience in management consulting, technology consulting, program management, and organizational change management with a price point of half the cost of many larger firms.