Twenty-five hundred years ago, Israel was in crisis. Corruption was rampant, even among priests and prophets. Jeremiah was the exception. He persisted in clearly telling leaders the truth about their wrong decisions. He warned that dire consequences would fall upon the nation if they stayed on this path. Despite Jeremiah’s messages, they abandoned their values.
Just as the kings of Israel needed a truth-teller to warn them about their situation, you need people who will tell you the truth about your company and leadership.
Who are your truth-tellers and where do you find them?
Sometimes they’re internal, someone who will tell you the truth no matter what it might cost them. They know you and the company well. They’ve parked their ego. They’re not just about collecting a salary. They’re people who put your company’s best interests at the forefront when they give you feedback. Their mission is to tell you the truth and live with integrity to the best of their ability. These people are extremely rare.
Truth-tellers might be contrarians.
They don’t put a happy face on everything that happens and they’re not afraid to stand up and say, “This isn’t right. We need to fix this.” Truth-tellers can be a burr under your saddle. When they walk into your office, you know they have something to tell you that you don’t want to hear.
Truth-tellers can come oddly packaged.
They’re not always smooth, polished, and sophisticated. They’re direct, lacking in tact but usually correct. Because of this, people often reject what they have to say.
What is the message of a truth-teller?
It’s the truth delivered with their perspective on how they see the organization in three areas: people within the company, the effectiveness of current or future projects, and issues brewing behind the scenes.
The messages won’t always be things you want to hear, but you should listen to them to understand what’s really happening in your business. If you’ve clearly identified the value and purpose of your business, truth-tellers will tell you when your intentions are being subverted. That’s because truth-tellers care about your company and its reputation.
When the walls are caving in, it’s easy to miss what’s really happening in our organizations. Be willing to endure the pain of the truth-tellers despite their sometimes unorthodox approach.
Find your truth-tellers.
If you don’t have one within your company, look on the outside. It could be your CPA, executive coach, or legal advisor. It could also be a CEO Roundtable or peer group filled with business owners who have your best interests at heart and will share the truth about how things are.
It’s lonely at the top. If you’re looking for truth-tellers who will hold you accountable and tell you things you may not want to hear, call me at 612-889-5848. I can help. We have experience in dealing with difficult issues.
The road is easier together,