Don’t Be Afraid of the Truth
Let’s talk about the truth. If you want your organization to succeed, you must encourage everyone – and I do mean everyone – to not be afraid of speaking up, speaking out, and speaking the truth.
I get that this can be hard, especially when you work in a corporate setting. Not everyone wants to hear the truth, let alone act on it.
Some people just don’t want to face the truth—after all, if you ignore reality, you won’t have to deal with it, right?
Even in the best organizations, politics that inhibit being authentic can permeate the air, stifle productivity, and prevent real and lasting solutions from being found and implemented.
Let me give you an example.
During a client meeting I sat in on, the COO encouraged everyone to speak the truth—to share openly and tell it like it is.
The problem was, no one did. You could hear a pin drop. It was clear they were terrified.
When a few people finally spoke up, they were quickly silenced by others in the room.
The COO continued to encourage people to speak up. He told them it was essential that they support each other, even if a problem affected someone else’s group or department.
It was clear to me as an observer that there was a big game of political maneuvering going on. People were scared to speak up, speak out, or to tell the truth. They feared for their jobs. This company had a culture where people swept problems under the rug, even in front of their bosses, including the COO.
Fear and lying is an all-too common issue in organizations: people are afraid of repercussions, losing their jobs, being embarrassed—you name it. As long as your organization is operating in fear, you will never succeed. In fact, you will fail. Fear is a formula for disaster.
Encourage everyone – and I mean everyone – to be straightforward, to tell the truth, and to not be afraid. Without being straightforward, you can never make a difference.
One of the world’s pre-eminent experts on quality and process improvements, Subir Chowdhury is the #1 international bestselling author on SIX SIGMA philosophy. Hailed by The New York Times as a “leading Quality expert,” and by Business Week as “the Quality Prophet”, he is the author of 15 books. His latest book THE DIFFERENCE: When Good Enough Isn’t Enough (Crown Business, 2017) made it to the USA Today Bestseller list as well as National Bestseller in India. In 2017, India’s prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur established the ‘Subir Chowdhury School of Quality and Reliability’ – the first of its kind in Asia. He is the Chairman and CEO of ASI Consulting Group and helped his clients save billions of dollars.