INSTANT MBA: There’s No Such Thing As A Good Surprise

barry salzberg

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Today’s advice comes from Barry Salzberg, CEO of Deloitte: “I don’t like surprises. I don’t like good surprises. I don’t like bad surprises. Obviously it’s better to have good surprises, but the idea is to be transparent and straight and tell it like it is all the time and to make sure that you are involving others along the way.

“People know that’s what I stand for today. My board is never surprised by anything going on, good or bad. The people who report to me are transparent, they’re right to the point. Sometimes surprise is unavoidable, and we all understand that. But if you have control over it, there is no reason for there to be a surprise. You don’t want to blindside anybody in a meeting.

“[I drive that message home with] consistent and repetitive messaging. It’s also in the actions because people take their cues not only from what you say, but what you do. And so, people know: Just come to Barry. You are not going to get yelled at. It’s not going to be the end of your career if it’s bad news. You have to come forward with all of it. If you practice it long enough, it becomes routine.”

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