Safe intentions do not always create safety.  Nice intentions do not always create a nice environment.  Being too safe or too nice can be true a detriment to the organization.

After a talk to a local professional organization, I was approached by an individual who had just started a job with a well-respected technology innovator.   He described his new company as one that only wants positive interactions.  Conversations that appear to be critical of another are frowned upon.  Those that have a reputation for being critical “get a talking to and those that don’t take the hint get shown the door.” This new company that has the intention to create a positive environment has created one where an experienced worker feels that it is risky to bring up subjects – like how something might not work. He doesn’t feel safe.

Many companies I have observed want to be nice.  In an attempt to be nice they do not give people on the team timely feedback.  This can result in people getting fired – and being surprised about it.  That is not nice, that is mean.

Organizations can only operate effectively with a free sharing of information and feedback.  Always assume that people are strong enough to handle information.  Assume they are strong capable people that can take the good, the bad, and (most importantly) the real.