End the Fireworks: Tell the Truth And Live to Tell About It (Part 3)

Information is the life-blood of every organization. Without it, you can’t effectively move forward. And yet, it’s shocking how many organizations have cultures where information flow is severely restricted because of one thing: People can’t tell the truth. The fear of consequences – of fireworks – means the information necessary to make good decisions often goes untold.

The cost of this “elephant in the office,” along with how to make sure people are telling the truth around you, has been addressed in our last two blogs. But what happens if you want to step forward and tell the truth to others who you are afraid will explode? How do you tell the truth and live to tell about it?

First, understand that most people don’t tell the truth because they failed a logic lesson: Somewhere in the past they told the truth and barely survived the experience, so they deduced: “Telling the truth is a life-threatening exercise.”

What these people failed to consider is that telling the truth isn’t what put them into danger; what put them in grave peril is HOW they told the truth.

Most people tell the truth in ways that:

  • Make other people wrong,
  • Infuse dread and gloom into the conversation,
  • Ignite controversy and unhealthy debate,
  • Generate a new round of the blame game, and
  • Leave people thinking about problems rather than solutions.

The most effective way to tell the truth is to simply offer it as information. It is, after all, only data. It’s not good or bad. (People’s focus and attitudes are what make things such.)

What would happen if, starting today, the people on your team told the truth in an authentic way that inspired imaginations? Creativity? Opportunity? And a greater focus on solutions? For instance: “Here is my perspective regarding this situation… What can we do to ensure this moves forward?”

Such an approach, as the one above, is happening in offices all around the world – and these are the organizations that are moving forward the fastest.

Where will you lead – where will you stomp elephants – today?

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