LEADERSHIP: Are you Telling the Truth?

This is a transcript of REPSradio.com Episode 003. To listen to this PODCAST, Click Here.

Welcome to REPSradio.com, the online broadcast that challenges YOU to be a better, more effective, more productive YOU.

<<<Eric Clapton clip, “Tell the Truth”>>>

In this Episode, we’re getting very REAL.

As you might have discovered, I like to begin our time together by asking a question. And with this Episode I have a tough one for you: Are you telling the truth?

Again, these questions might seem elementary; however, getting straight to internal fundamentals, which is how we’ve premiered this show, is where your personal POWER lies- POWER for making a true DIFFERENCE.

So then…Are you telling the truth?

Your honest answer to this question is essential to ANYTHING you do from this point.

Why? Because ALL PROGRESS BEGINS BY TELLING THE TRUTH.

Without brutal honesty, you can’t possibly be truly effective, let alone move forward with any sustainability.

I’m talking straight here.

So, if you’re thinking…well, I really don’t want to be [totally] honest, hit the STOP button to this Episode right now.

I am offering something in a bit, totally on our dime, and I only want it to be available to YOU if you are SERIOUS about breaking from old patterns of jaded truths and withheld information.

When beginning our work with a recent client, we started, as we typically do, by completing a Culture Profile across the entire operating organization- a few thousand people, spread over a good chunk of the southeastern United States.

The PPI Culture Profile is the only instrument in existence that specifically assesses cultural environment and climate related directly to performance improvement. If you’d like to see what one looks like, I’m giving you a link so you can see for yourself.

The results of this particular Profile were not good. In fact, some of the worst we’d seen in our 12-year history.

When time came to present the Profile results to the Executive Team, there was a bit of backpedaling by certain members of the Client organization. We were receiving requests to, “not include certain statements or numbers”. Some wording changes were nearly demanded. It seemed that there was a desire by a couple of directly involved middle managers to maneuver content and context of the debrief to what they believed senior leadership wanted to hear. Or…maybe they were attempting to cover their butts. At the time, we weren’t sure which.

Ever been subject to or part of something like that?

We refused to alter any wording or our presentation. The report was thorough, accurate, and to the point. It was prepared by top notch professionals. It was peer checked for accuracy. It said what needed to be said…the TRUTH.

Our Director began her debrief with these words: “All progress beings by telling the truth.”

Much to the surprise of many, especially the two members of middle-management, the meeting went exceptionally well. I am thrilled to say that this organization is now poised for massive improvement- improvement which could never be possible with politically correct politeness, fear of ruffling egos, cow-towing to overbearing leadership, or CYA methods and mentalities.

Two weeks after the debrief, the senior client executive present in our debrief was at a social gathering, talking to a guy who just happened to be a friend of the primary PPI analyst for the Profile. Somehow the topic of the debrief came up in conversation. The Executive offered, “It was so refreshing. This is the first time since I’ve been in this position that I’ve actually been told the truth.”

In 2001, Jim Collins and his team published a seminal work, Good to Great. You’ve likely heard of it. Hopefully you’ve read it.

In the book, Collins highlighted a handful of companies whose financial performance had skyrocketed relative to their peers and the stock market in general.

During this study, conducted by a team of 20 people over a five-year period, a key characteristic was discovered to be present amongst the stellar performers: their willingness to tell the truth.

As stated in the book, “Good to Great companies maintain their unwavering faith regardless of the challenges they face, and at the same time, have the strength and discipline to face the brutal facts of reality.”

When you consider making decisions, such as taking action to move toward your Point B in any type of performance improvement, if you do not know the truth, and you or others are not telling the truth, it’s like attempting to navigate through New York City using a map of Atlanta. You’re HIGHLY likely to make a wrong turn! Or MANY wrong turns!

You might be subject to BAD, limited, or outdated information. Like the maps of old, which used to show the “end of the world”, often inscribed with a saying something like, “Here there be dragons!” In other words…DON’T GO THERE!.

Such bad information can be present in your organization out of ignorance, lack of looking deeply enough, OR even through acts of “commission”- where misleading information has been deliberately inserted (again, likely for personal agendas or CYA).

You might have bad information caused by omission (which is a fancy way of saying the full truth isn’t revealed). Somehow, potentially uncomfortable or damaging information tends to be … “left out”. When this happens, you run out of information, and can be forced to make down-the-road decisions while “flying blind”.

As you’re listening to this, you may very well be wagging your head up and down. You FEEL precisely what I’m talking about.

On the other hand, if you find your head wagging from side to side, you’re either in denial, or part of an exceptional organization. It may be time to take another look in the mirror.

Commission, omission, and biasing or dogging of data and statistics remains alive and well in our current political, organizational, and cultural environments.

Let’s consider the global scale for a moment:

The World Corruption Perception Index currently indicates that more than 6 billion people are living in countries having serious corruption problems- 60 percent of the countries on planet earth.

This is NOT good.

There’s some brighter news in North America however- between 2014 and 2015, the most recent data available at the time of this broadcast, both the United States and Canada moved in a positive (or “less corrupt”) direction.

I like to believe this is because of the synthesized efforts and energies of people like you and me- those who believe in honesty, integrity, in telling the truth…AND who are ACTING accordingly.

In 2015, Denmark captured first place out of 167 countries (indicating the least amount of corruption in the world). Our friends in the UK came in at number 10, and Belgium at 15. The United States was 16th on the scale.

You Canadians will be happy to hear that your country came in ninth. However, don’t get too uppity- …since 1995, when the ratings began, Canada has dropped downward from fifth place.

So…is the world, overall, getting better or worse? I’ll leave that opinion up to you.

What I can TELL you is- at the organizational level, those who are willing to brutally and continuously tell the truth will OWN the future.

At the Practicing Perfection Institute, our team took this head-on a few years ago, developing a set of Core Principles. These Principles form the Nexus of HOW we conduct our business, both with our Clients and with one another.

Two of our Core Principles directly address telling the Truth:

Integrity, which we define as: Do the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons- no matter what, and

Honesty- Complete transparency; not even a “white lie”

….AND I must tell you, the “not even a white lie” part can be pretty darn tough sometimes! We keep it in front of us, however, to continually remind ourselves of our exceptionally high standards.

Telling the truth (…or NOT) is an integral part of your cultural fabric. This is true within whatever group you’re considering- whether it’s your entire enterprise, your department, your team…even your family at home. This goes far beyond individual personality. It is so pervasive, it even tends to bias personal ethics.

Consider how so many people behave quite differently on the job, compared to how they conduct themselves in church, or when at home with their families.

We’re going to go DEEP into culture in future Episodes. For now, recognize that every culture has its own set of “norms”. These are expected and accepted behaviors and interactions. Such behaviors CERTAINLY include tendencies to be brutally honest…or not.

So where do you think you stand?

Are you telling the truth?

Are you being told the truth?

Recognize that long standing bureaucracy, as well as traits and priorities of those previously in positions of defined leadership, might have evolved an environment and a cultural climate where truthfulness is less than 100%. Perhaps far less. Such had been the case within the client organization I previously mentioned.

How can you know?

I’m doing something in this Episode that some members of my team may not appreciate. It’s likely to create a TON of extra work for them. Work that I am offering you for free.

It’s called a “Pulse Check”.

If you’re serious about getting to the truth… but ONLY if you’re truly serious…

We are offering the opportunity for you and nine other members of your team or organization to complete an online Survey. We will tabulate the results. We will then provide you with a downloadable Report that reveals the error-likeliness of your current cultural environment and climate in five key areas:

· Systems and Structures

· Ownership

· Openness and Awareness

· Error-likely Environment, and

· Willingness to Learn

What can you do with this information?

I guarantee it will do two things for you:

First, based upon our experience of having completed Culture Profiles for over a decade, it will confirm your suspicions in certain areas. You know…those ‘gut feelings’ you’ve had, but perhaps you just haven’t been quite been able to put your finger on?

Second, it will help you stare down some of your brutal facts- to look at them straight on.

The Pulse Check is NOT just some online quiz. While we do use an app for gathering input from you and your team members, your results are NOT auto-generated. Our professional analysts will individually review your data and profile your results (which of course will be shared only with you).

Why are we willing to do this for free?

When it comes to telling the truth, it’s the best way I know to help you figure things out. Believe me, if I could come up with a way to get such useable information into your hands without having to involve my team…I would!

Since this broadcast is all about YOU becoming a better YOU (and a more effective LEADER within your organization), AND since ALL progress begins by telling the truth, I could think of no better way to help.

How can we afford to do this?

Well…depending upon the demand, we may not be able to do this forever. If you’re interested, I suggest you place your request NOW.

And PLEASE…don’t be skeptical. This is NOT some type of sales pitch. This is all about me and my team working together with you to help make our world a better and safer place!

***

Today’s episode has been brought to you by the Human Performance Association, publishers of the best-selling book, 6-Hour Safety Culture: How to Sustainably Reduce Human Error and Risk, and do What Training Alone Can’t Possibly Do.”

You can discover what this work has in store for you at 6hoursafetyculture.com, that’s 6hoursafetyculture.com

***

To cap off this Episode, I highly encourage you to request your Pulse Check by filling out the online request form.

I’m also turning you on to some additional resources:

First, with the blessings of the Human Performance Association, I’m giving you a pdf download of Chapter Two of the best-selling book, Six Hour Safety Culture. This chapter, “Third-Dimension Thinking,” is about THINKING DIFFERENT (surprise!). It directly relates to telling the truth by highlighting two key areas where organizations tend to get derailed in performance improvement efforts.

Second, a link to download my latest report: REPS: Next-Generation Performance Improvement. This report specifically addresses “telling the truth” between divergent efforts within your organization; efforts that by their nature CAN directly oppose one another. For example, an agenda of improving Safety WHILE ramping up Productivity. AND…it details the solution. It offers a sneak peak of where some of our future REPSradio.com episodes will focus.

There’s a link to access 6-Hour Safety Culture, and for you over-achievers, access to Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great. By the way, if you have not yet read either of these…you really SHOULD.

Finally, I’ve also provided a link to Eric Clapton’s song, “Tell the Truth”. You heard a few bars at the beginning of this Episode. You can use this link to download the entire song. It might be fun to put it on your iPod and play it at your next management meeting.

So…that’s it for this Episode.

Thanks for hanging with me.

In Episode 4, we’re diving straight to the Core. If you’re familiar with any of Simon Sinek’s work, you’re gonna love it.

I wish you great health and great contribution my friend.

au revoi!

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