The sad state of truth in organizations

Truth is evidently in short supply these days - both from political and business leaders. Here's how I know.

Ben Horowitz wrote:
"Once I stopped being CEO, I was granted a freedom that I did not have before. As a venture capitalist, I have had the freedom to say what I want and what I really think without worrying about what everybody else thinks. As a CEO, there is no such luxury. As CEO, I had to worry about what everybody else thought. In particular, I could not show weakness in public. It would not have been fair to the employees, the executives, or the public company shareholders. Unrelenting confidence was necessary." (The Hard Thing About Hard Things, page 274).
Bob Spink, former Member of the UK Parliament, said:
"I'm not a politician. I'm not up for election anymore so I can speak honestly." (BBC Radio 4 interview, September 6, 2014)
Not a pretty picture. And you wonder why your employees don't believe you when you tell them things - whether about their jobs, the company, its direction or how they can impact and benefit from doing more and better for the enterprise?

Frankly, they have no reason to believe you. They're surrounded by people showing them - over and over again - that the truth isn't out there. At least not anyplace that they can get their hands on it.

And that takes us to yet a different form of truth: "Your" truth versus "My" truth.

Too often, the response to arguments is, "Well that may be your truth, but it isn't mine."

That doesn't work. Truth is truth.

Facts change or can be interpreted differently over time with more information. Beliefs change all the time based on new and different experiences.

Truth doesn't change. Truth is truth.

On a survival level, we're told, trained and experience that truth isn't convenient or easy. Our business and political leaders even say so. You have to be fearful of the truth...or at least of speaking it.

That's wrong. Truth is clear and simple. It's not obtuse or veiled or difficult. Just ask Seth Godin. He wrote:
"A common form of complexity is the sophistication of fear....I'm more interested in the sophistication required to deliver the truth. Simplicity. Awareness. Beauty. These take fearlessness. This is, "here it is, I made this, I know you can understand it, does it work for you?" Our work doesn't have to be obtuse to be important or brave." (Seth's Blog, September 30, 2014).
Be fearless. Speak the truth. More important, live, demonstrate and model it in every aspect of your life every day.

That's when the truth really does set you free.