I have known Gerald Fairtlough. He passed away too soon, and too suddenly.
As so often, it is when you loose someone that you discover facets of his wisdom, that you dig deeper into hius writings, that you regret what you’ve lost by not going much deeper in mutual discovery dialogues.
I’m increasingly partisan of deep, profound dialogue face to face, to discover the other, but more importantly yourself…
Gerald was the founder of Celltech Ltd, building from scratch this business in biotechnology, in 1980. This company’s only activity was applied research, working closely with University Research labs and with most pharmaceutical industries as clients. Is this not a typical environment where the most stringent confidentiality prescriptions are the rule? Where secrets are everywhere?
Gerald acted as CEO of this company during 10 years, growing it incredibly successfully to a major industry player.
In his books, “Creative Compartments”, “The Three Ways of Getting Things Done” and “Open” (published after his passing away), Gerald explains how sharing his secrets with all the people in his organisationwas key to his company’s success. He declared never ever having experienced one single incident, problem. How was that achieved?
Here are the words of Gerald, concluding the chapter on “Openness and Trust, Empowerment and Commitment”, of his book “Creative Compartments”:
“… show trust, empower others, seek commitment. Don’t be discouraged if the prevailing attitudes in your organisation are against opennes and empowerment. The people in your organisation are waiting to be treated as responsible, capable human beings and they will respond if you treat them so. Be bold, be persistant, you have human nature on your side.”
What a lesson.
I can see the reactions of many a reader: Impossible!
Well, I believe we should all ask ourselves whether such spontaneous reaction are not the clearest indication of the need to change our ways of thinking and acting, to reexamine our beliefs, our value systems, in short, to change our mindsets. Re-orienting our mindsets towards the future instead of remaining faithful to a world that has long gone.
No Secrets! Innovation Through Openness
Innovation is the word on everyone’s lips. Yet even organisations with great creative capacity often find it difficult to sustain new ventures in the face of traditional hierarchies that are resistant to change. And for the many companies concerned about their future survival in a rapidly changing marketplace, innovation is a Holy Grail that cannot be obtained by mandate or implementation of controls.
Drawing on his many years’ experience as a business leader and advisor in
a highly competitive field, Gerard Fairtlough shares his insights into how
best to encourage and nurture innovation within an organisation by implementing
policies of trust, openness, focus and accountability.His wisdoms are informed
by an examination of existing theoretical models of innovation.