Tell the Truth, Even When It’s Hard

Tell the Truth, Even When It's Hard

GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski

Our behavior is a result of causes and conditions. One thing paves the way for the next. Elements of the first thing create a preferential path for the next thing. If someone gets praised for doing A, more people will do A, even when A is the wrong behavior. If someone gets chastised for doing B, B won’t happen again, even when B is the right behavior.

The most troubling set of causes and conditions are those that block people from telling their truth. When everyone knows it’s a bad idea, but no one is willing to say it out loud, that’s a big problem. In fact, it may be the biggest problem.

When people think they won’t be taken seriously, they keep their truth to themselves. When people know they will be dismissed, they keep quiet. When people feel the situation is hopeless because there’s no way they’ll be listened to, they say nothing.

When people see others not taken seriously, that creates conditions for future truths to be withheld. When people see others being dismissed, that creates conditions for future truths to be kept quiet. When people see others in others from not being listened to, that creates conditions for future truths to remain unsaid.

And causes and conditions are self-strengthening. The more causes and conditions are reinforced, the more the behaviors become ingrained. The more people are stifled, the more they will keep quiet. The more people are dismissed, the more they’ll shut up. The more people’s truths are ignored, the more they’ll remain unsaid.

Here are three rules for truth-telling that will help you and your company move forward:

  • Without truth-telling, there can be no truth-telling.
  • The longer truth-telling is stifled, the harder it is for truth-telling to reemerge.
  • Truth-telling begets truth-telling.

Image credit — Jinterwas

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