One of the things I enjoy about the data center industry is talking to smart people in the data center industry.
So what do the smart people, the intellects do differently than others? They know the truth. The difficult part though is whether the organization they work in supports the telling of the truth. It is easy for us to tell the truth over a few beers when you are amongst friends who support the sharing of ideas and discuss the reality of the data center.
In many companies the politics, the agenda from those who are in power is to stay in power and be viewed as the smart ones. The CEO needs to look like he is the smartest one in the company. This unfortunately can discourage the telling of the truth which influences perception of leadership. Not following the agenda can go so far as telling the truth will put you on the list to be fired, in the next round of layoffs, or just passed over for the next promotion.
An example of the type of behavior that many executives would not tolerate is what Noam Chomsky wrote in Feb 23, 1967 "The Responsibility of the Intellectuals."
Intellectuals are in a position to expose the lies of governments, to analyze actions according to their causes and motives and often hidden intentions. In the Western world, at least, they have the power that comes from political liberty, from access to information and freedom of expression. For a privileged minority, Western democracy provides the leisure, the facilities, and the training to seek the truth lying hidden behind the veil of distortion and misrepresentation, ideology and class interest, through which the events of current history are presented to us.
Unfortunately, Noam is discussing the ideas of the Intellectuals in the Western World where freedom of speech is the rule in society, not in a corporation. Freedom of Speech in a corporation is too often used to flush out the trouble makers, those who aren't 100% behind the executive direction, and reduce their influence on others which includes laying them off.
Here is an example of how whistleblowers in the federal gov't are classified as "non-critical sensitive" which removes their ability to appeal personnel actions.