Training and Seminars

CANDOR ACADEMY: Boost Team Work and Innovation with a Words Matter Mindset

During this 3-hour interactive workshop, participants will apply new ideas and activate this truth: our words create our future. Teams will gain an appreciation of Candor as a discipline that instills a Words Matter MindsetTM.  This will engage business leaders to create cultures that are more collaborative, trustworthy, and innovative.

Finding the “right words” to create high-trust conversations will result in more clarity, alignment and confidence to tackle tough problems.  Change is both scary and exhilarating.  Candor Academy will offer participants ideas and activities that are designed to fulfill our unique human ability to explore and create. By making the invisible, visible, participants will leave Candor Academy with greater commitment to improve performance and achieve desired goals.


Rittenhouse Rankings has developed customized training and seminars for companies. All are based on three key principles:

Using Candor to build credibility and trust that influences key internal and external stakeholders, (Trust)

Participants will develop Candor disciplines so they can step into the shoes of internal and external audiences with curiosity and respect.  They will identify stakeholders’ unspoken skepticism and address this in their communications to build sustainable trust.

Using Candor to build confidence, motivation and the freedom to develop unique approaches to problems and find unique solutions.  (Creativity and Innovation)

Participants will learn how to recognize, name and also effectively call out “the elephants in the room”.  This will ensure that business decisions are based on constructive dialogue and not shaped by the tyranny of assumed agreement.  Participants will learn the value and art of holding tension in order to release their innate creativity.  They will learn how to use humor to balance humility and power.

Using Candor to grow and inspire talent   (Authenticity)

Participants will gain a keen awareness of their spoken and energetic vocabulary —how their actions backed by words, reveal true leadership and authenticity.  Recognizing that words are the building blocks of the company’s futures, participants grow more conscious and confident of their personal skills and power to challenge the status quo and achieve unimagined and desired results.

Training Modules that have been offered:

  • Communication Practices of High-Performance Companies
  • Change Negative Perceptions — Overnight
  • How to Build Accountability Cultures
  • Restoring Our Relationship with Our Word and Our Words to Grow Authenticity
  • Build Trust and Ignite Creativity

Consulting and Coaching

Culture is a corporation of conversations.
Neil Postman

Over the past 15 years, Rittenhouse Rankings Inc. has conducted linguistic and market research to determine if executives who offer high quality stakeholder conversations will build more trustworthy cultures and realize superior valuations.  We have defined the standards that mark high quality, candid communications.

The 2012 Culture and Candor report released on July 25, 2013 confirmed that for the seventh consecutive year, companies top-ranked in the Rittenhouse Rankings Candor survey outperformed the bottom-ranked companies.

Why does this association persist during boom and bust markets?  The connection seems obvious:  candid communication builds trust internally and externally.  Employees who see that a CEO walks his or her talk will feel safer.  They will more likely speak out to avoid risks and seize opportunities.  They will be more engaged, motivated and creative.  Similarly, customers and bona fide investors (versus traders) will be more loyal and supportive of management.

The reverse is true at companies top-ranked in obfuscation.  The F.O.G. associated with high-level obfuscation leaves employees fearful and confused and creates a survivor culture.  When leaders choose communications that destroy trust, employees will strive to lay low; they will hide out and do the minimum to survive.  Similarly, customers and investors will withdraw their support and when corporate reputations are comprised by excessive FOG, they will quickly head for the exits.  Over time, obfuscation will lead to poor performance and results.  .

To promote corporate candor, Rittenhouse Rankings offers the following services:

Candor and Trust Audits

Rittenhouse Rankings measures candor in annual reports (shareholder letters and MD&As), teleconference scripts, investor presentations, press releases, CEO speeches, website content and internal documents to measure candor and trust.

How is it possible to measure candor in corporate communications to determine if these reports nurture the growth of trustworthy, sustainable and profitable cultures?

Rittenhouse Rankings has developed breakthrough models, metrics and technology to measure the presence and absence of candor.  These tools include Candor Audits which help to expose corporate blind spots and the “elephants in the room.  The latter are important conversations that will compromise the execution of corporate strategies until brought out in the open for discussion among decision makers.  After discussing the “unmentionable”, clients are often better able to anticipate the future and can strengthen operational performance, financial valuation and corporate reputations.

For more than a decade, the annual Rittenhouse Rankings Corporate Culture and Candor SurveysTM has provided a strategic benchmark to measure the relative candor quotient in company communications.  This allows clients to see where they rank relative to peers and competitors.  Recommendations from these Candor and Culture Audits are used to create effective action-oriented strategies and communications.

Rittenhouse Rankings clients gain competitive advantages by creating communications that:

  • Mitigate business risk
  • Reinforce adaptive and resilient cultural values?
  • Promote the discovery of creative and innovation solutions to corporate problems.
  • Position leaders to engage and more effectively influence external and internal stakeholders?


Coaching CEOs, CFOs and Operating Executives

L.J. Rittenhouse works with executives to see themselves as others see them.  This strategic intelligence protects leaders from creating distorted perceptions in quarterly earnings calls, speeches, investor meetings and other external communications.  It also increases the positive impact of internal messages.

Rittenhouse helps executives align their authentic leadership styles with perceptions of their leadership among key stakeholder groups.

The benefits of this focus include:

  • Increased efficiencies
  • More creativity
  • Sharper intelligence about company’s competitive positioning and valuation potential
  • The ability to anticipate and create the future.

Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Assessment, Benchmarking and Coaching

L.J. Rittenhouse works with CFOs and Investor Relations Officers to evaluate the effectiveness of IR and corporate communications programs. These assignments include, but are not limited to:

1) Conducting Perceptual Audits:  Interviews of key external and internal stakeholders including, sell-side analysts and investors, employees, customers, and other key constituencies.

2) Linguistic Audits of key Investor Relations materials:  Comprehensive reviews of quarterly earnings calls, key investor presentations and the annual shareholder letter;

3) In-depth Feedback Reports based on interviews with stakeholders after key events like investor meetings, quarterly earnings calls, and announcements of critical events.

4) Training for IROs and teams to develop unique Candor disciplines would include, but are not be limited to:

  • Mastering Crisis Communications: Tell the Truth (First, discover what that is!)
  • Becoming a F.O.G. Expert to Gain Strategic and Valuation Advantage
  • Creating Great Meetings Using Perceptual Intelligence
  • Building Context and Candor for Competitive Advantage: Mitigating the Dangers of PowerPoint
  • Using Investor Day Best Practices

Keynote Speaking

  • Candor as Competitive Advantage and Value Adder
  • I Had No Idea Anyone Was Doing this:  The Candor Leadership Challenge
  • Why Shareholder Letters Forecast the Future
  • Candor Analytics:  Big Data and CEO Leadership Trends
  • How Companies Striving to be Least Transparent – are the Most Transparent
  • Investor Relations: Changing Negative Perceptions Overnight
  • CEO Authenticity and the Supreme Court’s Definition of Pornography
  • How to Practice Candor and Achieve Transformation Goals
  • Warren Buffett:  A Capitalist, but not a Materialist

Prior Events

“The Unspoken Connection Between Candid Communication and Market Performance”
NIRI Annual Meeting

“The Unaccountable CEO: The State of Candor in Business”

“Ethics-Based CEO Communication: Operationalizing Governance Standards and Processes”
A Keynote address to the Conference Board of Canada

“CEOs and the Destruction of Candour”
Article in London-Based CriticalEYE Review

“Creating Power CEO Communications: Connecting Culture and Leadership.”
Presented to Women Executives in Public Relations

“Leadership, Governance and Breaking the Cycle of Corruption.”
A Keynote address to the Ontorio Energy Association

“The Annual Report and Leadership Paradoxes”
LJ Rittenhouse Presents to the NIRI Annual Conference

Candor Analytics

Read the Rittenhouse Rankings CEO Candor and Culture Survey ReportTM

Candor Analytics Services:

Rittenhouse Candor Analytics – 12-year Database of the best and worse of CEO communications.

Annual Corporate Culture and Candor Surveys:  FOG Model

Rittenhouse Rankings Sustainability Model of Business shows the strategic balance among Seven key business systems– Strategy and Accountability, Leadership and Vision, Stakeholders and Candor, and central to all:  Capital Stewardship.

Rittenhouse Rankings Anatomical Conversation model.

Candor Communication Insights – Blog