Enabling Independent Action

“Life’s tipping points occur when we figure out who we are and who we want to be.”

Peter Aceto, President and CEO of ING DIRECT Canada.

Peter grew up in a strict household that powerfully affected his choices. Peter said, “I have a great dad but he was controlling and not always in a good way.”

Taking charge:

“Many choices I made weren’t mine.
I was making someone else happy.

Peter Aceto

Peter explained that his marriage was a catalyst for challenging control. He ended up giving his dad an ultimatum. “It was a real challenge. I have a difficult relationship with dad.”

Helping others take charge:

I wondered if Peter’s past made him a controlling leader so I asked, realizing controlling people don’t think they’re controlling. Peter said, “Just the opposite. I value independence. I never want to be controlling.”

He’s been formed but not conformed by his past.

What does independence look like in growing organizations? Peter explained that information is central to independence “I share as much information as possible as frequently as possible with as many as possible. I ask our leaders to share with their followers.”

“Information enables others to make
better decisions rather than me
making decisions for them.” Peter Aceto

Too many secrets:

Peter’s comments remind me how secretive organizations:

  1. Paralyze progress.
  2. Create and propagate inequities.
  3. Encourage negative speculations.
  4. Manipulate employees.

Open communication:

  1. Create communication systems – predictable, systematic channels for sharing information.
  2. When in doubt, get it out. Err on the side of openness within legal and ethical guidelines.
  3. Expect people to use information as tools for efficiency and effectiveness.
  4. Close the communication loop with listening and feedback. Excellence demands feedback.

Life tipped for Peter Aceto when he figured out who he was. His comfort with open communication indicates he’s comfortable with himself.

How can leaders create channels of systematic communication?

What hinders open communication within organizations?