Just be honest. It’s not that easy.
First it makes sense to start with facing the reality that lies are a lubricant for the culture inside your business—they can advance or destroy it. You cannot irradiate all lies nor do you need to. Does your associate really need to know their hair didn’t turn out well today?
Investigate your own motives. Access how much you value the health of your company. If this requires uncovering the truth about the entrenched beliefs about your company, your market, your current and potential buyers and your own ideas as compared to feeding your self-perception as a smart person with the best ideas.
Demand the truth. Ask directly for it. Keep asking for more. Establish at the beginning of the conversation that the rules are changing and when you ask what they think you really don’t mean “agree with me so I feel good about a decision I’ve already made.” Be clear that you are seeking insight based on the reality of the situation. Be persistent. Repeat this every time you request an opinion. It will take perseverance to break the established culture of lying. Teach your executive staff to demonstrate this behavior.
Learn how to investigate your personal and collective presuppositions. Writing them out in actual sentences or bullets is a great way to become aware of them. We make many assumptions in any decision process. Start with what you can unveil now and add to it whenever you become aware of another. It will become easier to recognize with practice. Eventually it will become a habit.
Make certain the problem is framed in reality before attempting to solve it. Develop the discipline to stop and ask the problem you are about to solve is really the one you need to be solving. Is there a problem that is deeper rooted? Is this problem based on uninvestigated presuppositions? Why do we think this is the problem? Because it’s always been the one we’ve been trying to solve or do we really this is the real problem?
Demonstrate how the truth can be gracefully told. If you aren’t certain how to do this, seek out help. There must be someone you know who has this skill. Often a great sales person will be a natural at this; however beware they are typically comfortable with bending the truth. Begin to change your own speech patterns and launch a company-wide effort that acknowledges the current state of the organizational culture.
And finally, truthfully, if you can’t pull this off, call us. It’s what we do.