Transparency and an open communication of success and failure is not just a sign of candor but can be helpful when dealing with investors, says L. J. Rittenhouse of Rittenhouse Rankings. One example is Warren Buffett's annual Berkshire Hathaway investor letters. "Buffett's letters stand out because: 1) he writes them himself and imagines an audience; 2) they reveal his investor partnership philosophy; and 3) he's never afraid to say, 'I was wrong.' " Rittenhouse says.

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