Perfection is not the goal

Interesting business challenges are all around in this month’s issue. In our cover story, Covestro’s Jerry MacCleary speaks honestly about how underwhelmed his employees were when the new name for their company was announced. Covestro LLC is a spinoff of the Bayer group.

He had to convince them that the new name — and culture — could be whatever they made it to be. So far the results have been good, but MacCleary says it’s not something they can get complacent about.

Karen Feinstein of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation was also refreshingly frank. One arm of the nonprofit, the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative, seeks to increase quality and safety in the health care system. (It also seems to have more than a regional reach. For example, it had input into some of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions.)

The PRHI has made progress, but until the payment system changes, Feinstein believes wholesale change will be extremely difficult.

She says the U.S. health care system is good at treating acute episodes like strokes or a broken leg. But when you measure the health of our population, we get an F on just about every measure.

Often in business, especially when talking to a member of the media, leaders put a positive spin on things. While I understand the sentiment, I don’t think it’s the best approach.

Being honest with your employees and the public, accurately acknowledging the challenges, doesn’t make you weak. It makes you strong.

People today are attuned to spin, and it can backfire when business leaders use corporate speak to paint a rosy picture.

Don’t be afraid to be less than perfect. While the market is sometimes harsh, the recent lessons of Uber show that ignoring a problem — and hoping it somehow goes away — won’t endear you to your customers. As a member of the oh-so-elusive millennial population, I appreciate the truth, and so should you.