Bloomberg Anywhere Remote Login Bloomberg Terminal Demo Request


Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.


Financial Products

Enterprise Products


Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000


Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Bloomberg Customers

The How To Issue

How to Speak Your Mind: Carol Bartz

How to Speak Your Mind: Carol Bartz

Bartz: AP Photo; Megaphone: Getty Images

If you’re going to be a straight talker, you have to believe that it’s a virtue, that it’s an attribute you want associated with yourself.

If you have an opinion and you just state it, it allows the other person to either try to change your opinion, to agree with you, or to agree to disagree—they have an action they can take. If you are quiet, people think you agree. How can you then further the conversation when you’re at different points and it’s not really exposed? Agreeing is easy. Disagreeing takes more guts.

Several years back, when I was CEO at Autodesk (ADSK), there was a very senior-level woman who was very smart and well-spoken, but she did not wear appropriate clothes. It was distracting and she was not being taken seriously. I said to her manager, who was male, “You need to tell her.” He said, “Oh, no way.”

So I called her in and frankly stated what I thought was happening. I told her, “You’re not getting the respect you deserve.” I said, “Go to Nordstrom’s (JWN) and get a personal shopper. Just say, ‘I’m a senior businessperson and need help dressing like one.’ ” She came back, and honest to God, it was a different person. She said she felt really good. And her currency went way up.

Early in my business career, if people asked me a question, I’d try to answer it honestly. And that was rewarded. I had managers who wanted me around because I would actually tell them what was happening.

I was raised by my gram, and she was a pretty straight talker because she thought you could handle it. My advice is, dip your toe in. If you’re honest and truthful, what is somebody going to say, that you’re stupid because you believe something? Being honest and truthful is part of being a good friend, a good associate, and a good leader. It’s also why I know I could never be a politician. — As told to Sheelah Kolhatkar 

Bartz is the former president and CEO of Yahoo!

blog comments powered by Disqus