Candid Organizational Cultures Thrive (Part II)

by Rick Forbus, Ph.D.

As we continue this topic, a small dose of levity is needed. Passive Aggressive (PA) conversations happen all around us.

Here are a few good PA quotes that we all hear: (Some of these are pretty good to better avoid being totally honest in certain situations, I guess.)

  1. How’s that working out for you? (Response to a stupid “life” decision.)
  2. This is a…memorable dish. (For that potluck dinner bad dish with its insistent chef.)
  3. Your mother must be so proud.
  4. No, really, DO go on. (Insanely boring or insignificant conversation.)
  5. Please, don’t take my unconsidered reaction as typical.
  6. I hope this will turn out to be everything you want it to be.
  7. What a brave combination! (For a questionable fashion choice)
  8. Well, that about says it all. (I love this one. Works with just about any preposterous situation.)
  9. I prefer it otherwise.
  10. I would have NEVER thought of doing it that way.
  11. That’s the greatest thing about being American. We can disagree on these things.
  12. One hardly knows what to say. 

Trove, Inc. has had tremendous success at overcoming cultural passive aggressive behaviors through the use of our assessments, group feedback sessions, general professional training and coaching one on one. We have found a “secret recipe” to bring prescriptive help to such companies and organizations. One great pay off for me as a coach is to work and work, and, coach and coach, and, train and train, and, hold group session after group session, and, finally recognize an organizational breakthrough! It is what gets me up in the morning. These tough cultures that have withdrawn from healthy divergent discussions, synergistic meetings and candid conversations and, then, press beyond into productive teams, make it all worthwhile.

Be candid with everyone.   Jack Welch

Maybe you should make some goals regarding your team that include an operating principle called openness. How will you celebrate candid and energetic discussions? How will you help your team become more synergistic?

Openness means keeping our minds and hearts available for new experiences, ideas, and relationships. It means working to shift beyond the boundaries of the familiar, in particular the walls that can be erected by culture and tradition. Openness and curiosity are two of the primary conditions for discovery. Candid interactions, with pre-planned personal safety, can bring about amazing creative energies on intact teams. Openness feels risky, because it means venturing to unfamiliar ground, but can also be full of unexpected gladness and productivity. When we are open, we notice that work life is constantly presenting us with new information and opportunities for growth. This bears out in enterprise thinking and organizational group work.

If indeed you must be candid, be candid beautifully.    Kahil Gibran

If you found these tips from Rick Forbus, PH.D. of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in his self-paced, downloadable courses at


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