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Personal Musings - Getting to the Facts

20190811_stress Learning to face the facts...even if it's difficult.

Facts can be scary things, especially when you don’t want to know about them. One of the reasons why things are called facts is because they are unequivocally true and yet, so many people take an ostrich approach to life by burying their head in the sand to escape them. The question I would ask is, “Are you a seeker of the truth or a large bird?”

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A couple of years ago I found myself in a meeting planning for a leadership conference and I asked the question, “What’s going wrong with the organisation?” Several weeks later one of the leaders pulled me aside and expressed that she was really offended by the question. I must admit that I was a little perplexed by this response.

After listening to their concerns I explained that if you wanted to run a training session for the leaders of the organisation you needed to know the facts so the training could target the issues. I then shared with them that a leader should never be afraid to expose the facts of any situation.

One of the reasons why many organisations fail is due to the leadership punishing those people that are seekers of the truth. It doesn’t take very long before these people are isolated, ostracized and eventually take their talents elsewhere.

If you’re in a leadership position in an organisation then people that seek to find the facts, however unpleasant they may be, are like gold. What you will also discover is these individuals will often put their own position and career on the line for the sake of uncovering the truth of a situation.

I remember seeing an organisation that believed that if you didn’t continuously cheer the leadership then you were effectively marked as a traitor. It didn’t matter whether they were heading the organisation off the edge of a cliff or not, you were still expected to cheer. The team was largely dysfunctional, had a very high turnover and those that survived had learned to play the political game. This was sad but true.

Let me share with you a personal story of my own quest for facts. Quite some time ago I had launched a new two-day training seminar and had taken about one hundred people through it. At the end of the second day the attendees evaluated the course and about 60% loved it and 40% hated what I’d presented. I was devastated.

I’ll never forget heading back home down the freeway feeling really sorry for myself. After arriving home, I decided to review the facts and really think about what went wrong with all the different aspects of the training.

In this case, the negative comments from the first seminar were facts from the perspective of the attendees. My job was to embrace those facts (whether I agreed with them or not), understand what they were saying and then take appropriate action. It was brutal, hard self-reflection that needed to be done as I was about to present the same course a couple of days later.

I ended up reviewing each evaluation, rewriting the entire course and how I presented it. The evaluations from the next training were 100% positive. This would never have occurred if I hadn’t decided to put aside my emotions and dig into some difficult facts. By learning to focus on the facts was a lesson of monumental proportions for me and one that I’ve taken with me for the balance of my life.

If you’re in a leadership position in any organisation, then I would encourage you to adopt the principle of getting to the facts of any situation. Without the facts your decision making is likely to be flawed. Likewise, if you’re leading a team then why not encourage those individuals that bring even “nasty” facts to your attention….remember these people are like gold.

Have a great weekend.
Michael
 

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Comments

Wolftalker on 14 August 2019
Exactly.

And that's why its so important to support Whistleblowers, especially those exposing Government illegalities. See more on why: https://youtu.be/1efOs0BsE0g

And that's why its so important to support Whistleblowers, especially those exposing Government illegalities. See more on why: https://youtu.be/1efOs0BsE0g
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