Can You Handle the Truth?

Seeking the truth. Finding the truth. Facing the truth. Communicating the truth. It takes an extraordinary commitment to the truth to seek it and frankly not everyone is interested. Some people like their own version of reality just fine, thank you. It’s hard to make a difference with these people.

Serious truth seekers don’t fit well in organizations that stifle the flow of information, or place significant value in the pecking order/hierarchical management structure. They don’t take kindly to gossip or the blame game, either. Then again, truth can be a slippery slope.

Mark Twain said, “Get the facts first, then you can distort them as much as you please.” Twain was speaking of human nature. Is there really THE truth? Facing the truth may be admitting that you don’t have the answer. Or you can’t make the deadline, in which case the sooner you communicate that truth, the sooner others can adjust to a new reality.

Once you have identified what you think is the truth, what do you do with it? Is it YOUR truth, or do you hold it as universally true for others and assume they are on the same page as you? Do you hold it up for scrutiny?

In businesses that are working hard to move toward a common goal, most of the breakdowns stem from the damaging impact of believing others have access to, or share your version of the truth.

I conduct a team-building exercise with senior executive teams, first assessing participants’ behavioral preferences using the Harrison Assessment then identifying their version of the company’s challenges. So the inquiry is made in the context of individual impressions of how the company is held back from the goals. Once everyone is debriefed and feedback is gathered, then together we examine their “filters” on the truth. This four-hour team exercise sucks the judgment right out of the room and makes way for a whole new version of truth exploring, putting it where it will best serve, i.e. exploring the boundaries of one’s own version of the truth.

If the leadership of the company is focused on measuring people against the right indicators — actions that produce desired results — and everyone is questioning their own truth, the resulting cultural synergy is a perfect backdrop for stunning breakaway success.

Is your organization poised for success by exploring “truth” in healthy ways?


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