When I wrote about getting a cold reception from the email I sent last week, I prefaced the entire email with "I am putting on my partner advocate hat here...."
The thing is, in the new age of Web 2.0 or whatever we're calling it is that the expectations of the transparency of your community (be it partners or customers) is much higher than ever. If you want to be successful in building a customer (or partner) community, you need to be willing to air your company's dirty laundry. This builds trust...which builds the relationship.
Of course, doing this...airing the laundry in public, has its consequences. It can ruffle some feathers in an organization. It can make some people look bad.
The question is....why are you doing it? And how are you doing it?
If you are doing it to make someone look bad, stop. That's not a good reason. Your motive must be genuine, but that's only the first step.
How you do it is important (and frankly, where I need some work).
But, as an owner or executive, you need to recognize that there is a trade-off between results and harmony. To some extent.
If everyone is in total agreement, you'll get some results.
If everyone is in total disagreement, of course, results will be poor.
The question, then is...what does the graph look like?
What's the right mix of harmony or lack thereof to drive the results you want/need?