A Climate of Truth

Author Jim Collins reminds us that, “great leaders have the humility to grasp the fact that they must ask the questions that will lead to the best possible insights.” (Collins, 2001)  This requires a climate where the truth can be heard. So how do you create this kind of climate?

In my last blog I promised to share Collin’s four best practices for a climate where the truth is heard. Here they are:

1. Lead with questions, not answers.  Use informal meetings where there is no agenda but a question is asked like, “What should we be worried about?”

2. Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion. Mediate, moderate or facilitate discussions, dialogues, debates that put the issues on the table.

3. Conduct autopsies, without blame. Model the behavior of taking responsibility for your mistakes and talk about them out loud to share the lessons.

4. Build “red flag” mechanisms. Gather information and turn that information (like customer feedback) into information that cannot be ignored and results in change or improvement.

Inspired by Chapter 4 of Jim Collins book, Good to Great (2001)


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