Tell the Truth: Are You Bringing the Fireworks Show into the Office?
Fireworks exploded all across the U.S. this past weekend as the country celebrated its birthday. But fireworks don’t have to be a “weekend” activity! In too many offices, fireworks can be a daily occurrence. And it’s done simply by telling the truth.
It’s a huge “elephant in the office” for many organizations: The truth is unacceptable. And the reason why is because a system – a culture – has been established that when the truth is stated it means someone is wrong. And being wrong is not cool. So when the truth is told it ignites explosions and tirades that – in this case – are not at all entertaining, but are severely destructive.
Because people are trained to “not play with fire,” truth-telling is not an exercise that is often experienced by most teams. Like a stockpile of fireworks just waiting for a match, here is a list of the most common lies being told in offices today:
- “If we work harder, we’ll succeed.” (That’s a lie! It’s HOW we’re doing our work that must evolve.)
- “My leadership behavior is not what needs to change; it’s others who need to change.” (You’re kidding, right? All significant change begins by altering the approach taken by the only person you can control: you).
- “I can’t take time from my schedule to work on our culture.” (Huh? This statement reveals the missed paradigm – and why the culture is probably toxic: Your culture is always under construction; right now you are either creating or dismantling it.)
- “We don’t have an accountable workforce because we don’t have responsible employees.” (Give me a break. Accountability is not legislated. Lack of accountability in an organization is a greater testament to poor leadership and culture than it is a statement about mankind.)
The speed at which your organization moves forward is equal to your ability to tell the truth.
If you’re not telling the truth, you’re conducting faux meetings and having artificial conversations. And incremental progress is all you’ll ever know.
This week ask your team, “Can we do a better job of telling the truth?” And let people tell their truth.
Telling the truth does not have to ignite fireworks. The key is HOW you tell the truth. In next week’s blog we’ll explore steps on how to do that.