As of late, there seems to be a propensity of people in the news who have been caught misrepresenting the truth. Newscasters that claim they were places they were not. Countries that purposefully represent the facts wrong. Maybe even a politician or two that may have bent the facts? (Ok, I just made that last one up.)
You can call it exaggerating, bending the truth, telling a story, fibbing, a little white lie, interpreting the facts differently or whatever works for you. However, there is a word found in Webster’s Dictionary that describes these actions. It’s called “lying” and its definition is: marked by or containing falsehoods.
One of the things we value in business is integrity. Integrity is a complex value made up of many components. However, it has some simple basic foundational bricks – one of which is honesty. In other words, we value “not lying”. We tell the truth without editorializing and let the facts speak for themselves.
We value the truth because:
- It is the only way we can trust each other in our quest for best in class performance.
- Lies ”dismember and maim” a team member’s character and their relevance.
- Working with lies is a waste of time and energy.
- “Defending our honor” takes time away from doing real work.
- We build things that if not built correctly, people can get hurt.
The world around us is complex. Sometimes we see events differently. Sometimes things turn in an instant. Sometimes we make honest mistakes. Sometimes communication is unclear. It happens. And when it does, we need to come back to the table with the facts and sort it out even if it may cost us a short-term loss of face for a long-term wall of trust. We are building a lifetime of integrity one day at a time.
And in that light, we must always, like Joe Friday, tell the truth and stick to “…just the facts…”
Third of our five part series on Keys to Leadership Success – Operate with strong results orientation
Camelback Mountain. 1,264 feet straight up. Know your climb ahead.
One could say that the point of leading is to take someone or a group somewhere. If you have nowhere to go, there really is no leading involved.
The second key trait in our series is “operate with strong results orientation”. I translate this to mean know what destination you are leading to and focus on winning the war. In the world of manufacturing, finance, marketing, business at large – disruption, chaos, and minor set-backs happen in the micro. As leaders, we must keep the flag of the macro goal held high in the air for the team to see through the cloud of the moment. We must always be personally operating with the mind set of delivering results – sustainable results. Leading your team with clarity of the goal means understanding the trade-offs necessary to win the war, not just the battle.
Also, personally, you not only have to be clear in your mind what results you want and you must be clear on what is acceptable behaviors in obtaining those results. Do you value the how as much as the deliverable? As a leader, you are accountable for the cultural foundation that results are based on.
Not quite at 1,264 feet yet, but I say celebrate the small victories along the way. (And yes, that is the trail…)
If you drive winning the battle at all costs, you will lose the war. It is possible to achieve the business goal AND achieve it with the values the company espouses. It might be harder, but as a leader it is your actions that results are really based on — both for business goals and for foundational values (there are no short cuts allowed with the “how”, integrity is black & white).
Decoding leadership: What really matters
January 2015 | byClaudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan