What is your company’s most important asset? Your people? Your brand? Your intellectual property?
What if it’s none of these things? What if the most important assert were your culture’s relationship to truth? By this I mean, generally speaking, how honest people are with themselves and others.
Honesty is a quality that people tend to significantly overestimate in themselves—a.k.a. the Dunning-Kruger Effect—and perhaps never before in history has this been truer. In 2004, Ralph Keyes wrote “The Post-Truth Era: Dishonesty and Deception in Contemporary Life” where he makes a compelling case for how American society is permeated with deception in ways that have become the new normal.
Have you noticed it’s gotten worse since 2004? Why?
Because deception (conscious or not) is the current normal, and truth is the most valuable asset a business has. Just like the abjectly poor customer service of national banks is an opportunity for the smaller ones to compete, courageous professionals not afraid of the truth have the ability to gain an edge.
I’ll let you in on a little secret about how I help people. It’s really simple. I just look for the truths people are hiding from. They don’t do it intentionally, and certainly not maliciously. Everybody hides until they learn not to, often the hard way. When someone hides/lies, there’s a feeling of a contraction, a “disturbance in the force” if you will. You can feel it. I’m sure you have before. Sometimes you just know someone’s lying, right?
Well, this is a skill you can develop, and it’s a useful one, too. Maybe I should teach a course on it, what do you think? Hit comment and tell me if you’re interested.
When you can sense that contraction and, in addition, lead a healthy relationship to truth in your business, you create a culture that values truth. In such a culture, people don’t make excuses, provide accurate metrics, embrace accountability, share critical information with management even when they’re afraid, etc.
Can you see how the way a person relates to truth impacts all of these things and more? As a manager, should you have to be teaching your people morality? No, ideally not, but in the “post-truth era” in which we live, if not you then who, if not now, when?
I’m committed to helping the world become a more truthful place. Will you join me? Maybe you already have. If you’re interested in joining a group of developing professionals who practice improving their relationship to the truth every week, consider becoming a Clear and Open Member. Can you handle the truth? 😉