Biggest Dirty Little Secret in Business: Legal–Probably, Ethical–Maybe, Interesting–Definitely…

Nothing in life, that’s worth doing, comes easily. I was reminded of that for which I’m grateful– Dirty little secret.

The business dirty little secret is information that is purposely not made available to the general public in order to gain advantage, not reveal weakness, or avoid embarrassment. Every business has secrets and some are just bigger than others: Those little things that are hide away, for fear of judgement... For example; A manager’s expectations of people and their expectations of themselves are the key factors in how well people perform in business. Known as the Pygmalion effect and the Galatea effect, respectively, the power of expectations cannot be overestimated.

According to Susan M. Heathfield; these are principles that you can apply to performance expectations and potential performance improvement at work. The Pygmalion effect was described by J. Sterling Livingston: ‘The way managers treat their subordinates is subtly influenced by what they expect of them.’

The Pygmalion effect enables staff to excel in response to the manager’s message that they are capable of success and expected to succeed; although, it can also undermine staff performance when the subtle communication from the manager tells them the opposite. If the supervisor actually believes that every employee has the ability to make a positive contribution at work, telegraphing this message, either consciously or unconsciously, will positively affect employee performance. When people believe they can succeed and contribute; in fact, their performance rises to the level of their own expectations…

In the article “The Dirty Little Secret of Overnight Successes” by Josh Linkner writes: When looking at the most successful people and organizations, we often imagine geniuses with a smooth journey straight to the promise land. But when you really examine nearly every success story, they are filled with crushing defeats, near-death experiences, and countless setbacks.

We often celebrate companies and individuals once they’ve achieved undeniable success, but shun their disruptive thinking before reaching such a pinnacle. Before Oprah was Oprah, before Jobs was Jobs, they were labeled as misguided dreamers rather than future captains of industry. In your life, you’ve probably had a setback or two. When you stumble, it’s tempting the throw in the towel and accepts defeat.

But the most successful people forge ahead. They realize that mistakes are simply data, providing new information to adjust your approach going forward. You will inevitably endure some failures along your journey, but you must realize that persistence and determination have always been primary ingredients in accomplishment. 

There’s an old saying that ‘every bull’s-eye is the result of a hundred misses’. So the next time you feel the sting of failure, just realize you’re likely one shot closer to hitting your target. Maybe after a few dozen failures and months or years of hard work, you might just be that next ‘overnight’ success.

In the article “The Dirty Little Secret of Successful Companies” by Jay Goltz writes:  How many times have you heard the head of a company say it’s successful because of its great people? You hear it in speeches and you read it in interviews, books, and other company propaganda. And it sounds great– gracious, humble, and nice. It may even be true, but it is not the whole story.

What these people don’t tell you in those interviews and books is that great companies may be great at a lot of things, but they do not always hire the right people. It’s a dirty little secret that even great companies have to fire the people who don’t work out. You don’t read about it very often, because firing people doesn’t make for great public relations.

Over the years my hiring mistakes often got me wondering what I was doing wrong. I was trying to build my business, and I was dealing with all of the repercussions of not understanding the best ways to hire, train, and manage employees. But, eventually, I learned that if you want to run a great company; a company they gives great customer service, delivers a great product, has happy employees, and a good bottom- line: Occasionally you have to fire people…

In the article “When Negotiating–Watch Out for Dirty Tricks!” by admin writes:  In the world of business negotiations, not everyone plays nice. Some parties will bring out dirty tricks to help them ‘win’ or, perhaps, hopelessly deadlock the negotiation to avoid reaching agreement.  You don’t have to fall prey to dirty tricks– the first step is to learn to recognize unethical or dirty little secrets in negotiations. For example:

  • Bribery: Unethical use of payoffs or collusion for the other party to get its way.
  • Missing person: Authority person who has final approval is deliberately absent.
  • Blackmail: Threat maneuver where the other party says pay this or else!
  • Scrambled eggs: Creating confusion by throwing-out lots of issues and numbers.
  • Low-balling: Offering a very low price; just to get into a negotiation.
  • Personal attacks: Deliberately attacking someone to destabilize the negotiation.
  • Stretch-out: Delaying in order to reveal uncertainties prior to agreement.
  • Dozens of other dirty tricks:  Always be prepared for unethical maneuvering.

In the article The Dirty Little Secret Of Silicon Valley’s Startup Boom” by Tom Foremski writes:  In San Francisco cafes and bars, even on the street, there are people talking about their startup ideas, business plans, and goals. And there are tons of incubators, Angels, wannabe Angels, VC firms, making investments in startups. There’s lots of money being made, especially by the super smart people who have made fortunes selling startups to larger companies.

The risk-to-reward ratios are off-the-charts, which is why so many people want to be Angels. There are no shortage of startups looking for seed investments, and most are told that they must have the right package, which includes; business plan, market opportunities of at least $1 billion in revenues, industry sector expertise… and many other such factors that are important to investors. But, most of these factors are BS. In the vast majority of cases, the buyers aren’t really interested in the startup’s business, they just want the engineering talent.

This happens time and time again: Mark Zuckerberg has said it many times, Facebook acquires companies mostly for their talent. Google does it too, all the giants do. They buy the startups and then close the business. Twitter bought Summify and closed it down. Apple bought LaLa and closed it down. There are hundreds of startups acquired every year and their services or products are closed down. Startups are by far the best hunting ground for new talent.

So, do we really have a startup boom? Or is it a masquerade, a proxy for battle between the Internet giants for top quality engineers? The value of software ‘code’ is proportional to the scale of its use. The same ‘code’ can be used to provide service for one hundred people or ten million. Building scale is hard, very hard. But if you already have scale, then you have means to leverage the work of software engineers across a vast realm of business opportunities.

My advice to young engineers is don’t worry too much about your business idea; bootstrap your own venture.  Produce great code, create and launch a service, then shop it around as demonstration of your talent. Silicon Valley’s dirty little secret is the startup boom is mostly a disguised jobs fair that benefits the big corporations.

Occasionally, an innovative startup makes it past this stage but it has to be so bad that no one wants it, not even for its team. It’s from among these ugly ducklings that the swans of the new age emerge: Facebook, Goog, Twitter, Yahoo! and others– no one wanted them at first, then they couldn’t get enough of them.

In the article “The Biggest Dirty Little Secret in Business” by Hugo writes:  The biggest dirty little secret in business is described in Jack Welch’s bestseller ‘Winning’ and it’s candor. Just focus for a minute on the exact meaning of the word ‘candor’ from the Oxford Dictionary: Frankness or sincerity of expression; openness, freedom from prejudice; impartiality... It strikes me that many potentially very good people fail to communicate clearly and withhold what they really think for all sorts of reasons and it’s absolutely damaging to their business.

Too many people want to avoid conflict and just make life easier. According to Welch: ‘I have always been a huge proponent of ‘candor’. In fact, I talked it up to G.E. audiences for more than twenty years. But, I have come to realize that I un­derestimated its rarity. In fact, I would call lack of ‘candor’ the biggest dirty little secret in business.  Lack of ‘candor’ basically blocks smart ideas, fast action, and good people contributing all the stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer.  

Now, when I say ‘lack of candor’, I’m not talking about malevolent dishonesty. I am talking about how many people too often instinctively don’t express themselves with frankness. They don’t communicate straightforwardly or put forth ideas looking to stimulate real debate. Instead they withhold comments or criticism. They keep things to themselves, hoarding information. That’s all lack of candor, and it’s absolutely damaging.’

The biggest dirty little secret in business is the lack accountability and responsibility at all levels from the leader to top executives to front-line managers to individual employees. As a result, companies do not execute and achieve what they set out to achieve.

In the book, The Oz Principle–Getting Results Through Individual and Organizational Accountability by Roger Connors, Tom Smith and Craig Hickman they say; pervasive lack of business accountability is the reason that most companies fail. According to David Shedd; the key to accountability is willingness of an organization’s people to embrace full responsibility for results they seek.

Many organizations move from one illusion of what it takes to achieve organization effectiveness to another without ever stopping long enough to discover truth, the dirty little secret: The results you seek depends on shouldering greater accountability, which begins with  business leadership, their decisions and actions…

When ‘all’ the people in the enterprise ask: What can I contribute that will significantly affect the performance and the results of the institution I serve? ~Peter Drucker