Truth, although sometimes painful, is of far greater value than good news falsely manufactured.

There is nothing more brutally honest than the scoreboard at a sporting contest. We won! We lost! The result is clear for all to see and while being on the losing end is painful – buried inside that loss are the keys to improvement. You just have to look.

Jim Collins the best selling author of “Good to Great” recently released his latest work “How the Mighty Fall”, a post Global Financial Crisis analysis of why companies fail. He cites a combination of reasons for corporate failure but zero’s in on Leaders & Team Behaviour. Collins compares organisations on the way up versus those on the way down.


• People shield those in power from grim facts, fearful of penalty and criticism for shining the light on harsh realities.

• People assert strong opinions without providing data, evidence or solid argument.

• Team Leaders have a very low questions-to-statements ratio, avoiding critical input and / or allowing sloppy reasoning and unsupported opinions.


• People bring forth unpleasant facts to be discussed – “Come here, look man, this is ugly”;  Leaders never criticize those who bring forth harsh realities.

• People bring data, evidence, logic, and solid arguments to the discussion.

• The Team Leader employs a high questions-to-statements ratio, challenging people and pushing for penetrating insights.


Those who have followed this newsletter may recall our comments on what we call “The Moment of Truth” – the discussion on Results. In our view, how each Team and their Leader approach this discussion will determine if they are On the Way Up or On the Way Down. Teams On the Way Up will do three things well.

1. RESULT. They will seek THE TRUTH. The result will be clear and unambiguous.

2. REASON. They will ask WHY? Not once but many times, desperately trying to get to the very heart of why they have been successful or why they have fallen short.

3. RESPONSE.  Finally and with deep understanding, they will decide PRECISELY WHAT ACTION THEY WILL TAKE NEXT. This includes what each person will be responsible for.

Avoiding the truth is only going to set your team up for failure at some point down the track.  For some Leaders and Teams Facing the Truth might be a challenge, but it beats the hell out of the alternative. The Global Business community learnt that lesson with catastrophic consequences.

The truth might be brutal, but facing it now will provide crucial insights to future performance – for the team and individual.

By Mark Bragg & Martin West