8 Signs Your Sales Culture Has A Candor Problem

by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Lack of candor destroys sales potential.

The lack of candor in sales teams scares the hell out of me because I see so frequently and the costs are profound.

I cannot count the times I have walked into a sales team knowing they know precisely what is holding them back yet they are powerless to do anything about it because no one has the guts to say or do anything about it. 

Dictionary.com describes candor as the quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness. 

The best boss I ever had knew how to praise me when I did well and let me have it when I missed the mark. I never wanted to disappoint Steve. The best in sales management are candid about the potential of their sales team. They tell it like it is even when it is painful.  A_lack_of_candor_makes_sales_managers_into_liars

Quickly get up to speed regarding candor by reading the powerful book by Jack Welch, Winning.  You will not find a better ten pages on this critically important topic.


Welch shared the "candor effect" which includes:

  • "Candor gets more people in the conversation and when you get more people in the conversation...  you get idea rich."
  • "Candor generates speed" through debate and enhancement of ideas.
  • "Candor cuts costs."

Every sales team requires candor to be nimble, to flourish, to succeed long-term.

Take a moment to reflect.  What is slowing down progress on your sales team or in your company?  What is not talked about that is slowing down progress in your sales team and company? What is a lack of candor costing you and your sales team?  

What is not being talked about?  What you are not talking about is slowing you down.

Eight signs your sales culture has a candor problem.

You are not sales management material.

Put simply, if you do not have the requisite sales management personality, you will not have candor in sales teams. The more you are known as a "nice guy / gal" the more likely you do not have candor in your sales team.  All problems start at the head.  If you do not have candor, nor will your sales team members.


The who matters more than the what.

Do you or someone higher up than you play favorites?  Playing politics destroy the potential for candor.  When the "who matters more than the what", you have politics. If your sales team plays the politics game, you will have less candor and sales performance will undoubtedly suffer.


No regular candid performance feedback.

Sales managers and sales vice presidents who do not give ongoing candid performance feedback rob their salespeople of what they need most to incrementally improve. While the sales manager who fails to deliver candid performance feedback may feel they are being "nice", this practice robs sales wolves of something they need: constructive feedback in order to improve and perform.


Glowing performance appraisals.

Sales managers who give everyone the same glowing sales appraisals lack candor.  Lacking candor cripples a high-performing sales team.


Low Personal Accountability

A lack of personal accountability manifests itself through blaming others, playing the victim, and procrastinating. Read John Miller's powerful book - QBQ - The Question Behind the Question to get a serious personal accountability seed planted in your sales team. 


Happy low performers.

Candor and low performers do not mix well. The surest sign you have a lack of candor is happy low performers who are not getting real feedback to improve.


Unhappy high performers.

High performers absolutely hate mediocrity created by a lack of candor - especially if it means low performers are thriving. High performers love candor because it is fuel for them to improve themselves and their income. Top salespeople will run toward candor if it means improving their sales performance.



No Customer Relationship Management software (think Salesforce.com) means no personal accountability. As indicated previously, no or low personal accountability translates into low or no candor. A highly-accountable sales team uses a CRM to ensure sales intelligence is generated and accountability for sales activities is maintained. 


Create a culture of candor on your sales team.

In his book, "Winning", Jack Welch says to get candor you need to reward, praise, and talk about it.  

Following are ten things you can do right now to create candor in your sales culture.

  1. Commit to implementing a sales culture of candor.
  2. Only hire salespeople and sales managers who fit the ideal sales personality and aptitude Behaviors, Motivators, Acumen, and Skills.
  3. Stop playing favorites and remove any signs of playing favorites.
  4. Provide candid performance feedback twice monthly.
  5. Give performance appraisals that are factual.
  6. Make Personal Accountability a core value of your sales team.
  7. Promptly remove low performers.
  8. Implement a CRM and then hold salespeople accountable for using it.
  9. Mine for conflict and candor in sales team meetings.
  10. Reward and praise those who use candor.



 You can have candor. You just need to decide.  No candor means you are living a lie.

 Sales Personality Aptitude Test Sample Assessment