Improving Our Leadership Skills, One Brutal Fact At A Time

Sep 20, 2022

The moment we get mentally and emotionally ready to look at and accept the hard data, the brutal facts, and the results of our strategies and leadership style, we take a giant step toward improving ourselves as leaders. We also create a space where transparency is the norm, and our teams feel comfortable sharing their truth.  

In this episode, we explore the complex nuances and endless benefits of facing brutal facts. Inspired by Jim Collins' book, "Good to great," we delve into the game-changer attitude of dealing with the facts, the data that reflects how effective or not our leadership strategies are. Together, we analyze how the simple decision of dealing with the truth has the potential to improve our leadership skills, create a safe space for our teams too, and clear our path from lesser goals. 

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • How research on publicly traded companies can help you improve your business, even if it is a small organization (3:37)
  • What kind of breakthrough facing brutal facts can provide (6:30)
  • About the benefits of creating a space where brutal facts are confronted (8:41)
  • Why is it easier to maintain the status quo than to try to change something (12:37)

Resources:

  • Book: Jim Collins - Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, and Others Don't
  • Quote: Jim Collins - "Yes, leadership is about vision. But leadership is equally about creating a climate where the truth is heard, and the brutal facts confronted. There's a huge difference between the opportunity to "have your say" and the opportunity to be heard. The good to great leaders understood this distinction, creating a culture wherein people had a tremendous opportunity to be heard and, ultimately, for the truth to be heard."
  • Quote: Dan Sullivan - "All progress starts by telling the truth."
  • Quote: Robert Brault - "We are kept from our goals, not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal."
  • Unlock Your Unrivaled Momentum Training 
  • Interested in Working with Clint? Send a message to [email protected]

Let's Connect!

Transcript 

Clint Hoopes: I believe that in order to create a climate where the truth is heard, we have to begin with ourselves, by beginning to see the truth and confront the brutal facts in our own life, in our own leadership, before we can create a climate like this in our organisation. People can tell if you've done the internal work first to become the leader that you need to become.

Welcome to the Unrivaled Man podcast. Whether this is your first time with us or your 50th, today we have a topic that I believe we cannot hear enough. Before we get into the subject at hand for today, I want to share with you that I have a few more openings with my private, one-on-one, executive coaching. What is this private, one-on-one, executive coaching? This is a chance where we get to work one-on-one, and we get to work on any part of your business leadership that you want — anything that you need. So, if you're ready to take things to a different level in your leadership, in your business, or some other idea that you have, we can do that. If you need help managing growth, or if you're just feeling stagnant. If you're feeling out of control at work or at home and just need a different perspective, I can offer that. So, let's chat. Message me on social media or go ahead and just email me directly at [email protected]. That's also in the show notes if you want to track me down and we can set up a time for a zero-pressure call. Like many business leaders out there, many of you, I love the principles that are shared in Jim Collins book, Good to Great. Now some of you listening may be thinking, “Oh, my goodness, I've read this book dozens of times. I love it.” Or there may be others of you that have said, “Yeah, I've heard a lot of the principles in there and I've meant to read it for years, but haven't done so yet.” So, if you fall in that latter camp, I'm telling you, just do it already. Take the chance to read this book for yourself. It's one that's been around for quite a few years now, and has really been one that many companies have used to help take things to another level in their businesses. I know, for me, it has been a book that has been pretty foundational for me in my leadership, really put some words right around what I'm trying to do and what I wanted to do with my leadership and with my business. So, much of the research in this book comes from larger publicly-traded companies. And I know that for some people that puts them off. As soon as they start reading, they see, “Oh, my goodness, they're talking about all these large companies over decades.” And they think, “Okay, that's not me. I am a small business. There's two of us,” there's five of us, there's 10 of us, there's 30 of us, whatever that might be. And you're thinking, “Okay, this is for companies much bigger than mine.” And I'm telling you, even though the research for this book has come from these publicly traded companies, the principles within and the themes that are discussed apply to businesses of all sizes. So, if you are a small business owner or a leader in a small business, listen up: This book is for you. So, take the challenge, read the book.

I have a few things that I want to share from that book today, as well, as part of our discussion. Now, one section in the book is titled “Facts are better than dreams.” This is actually a quote from Winston Churchill, where he shared this. He’s talking about how facts are better than dreams. And another great name for this chapter might have been “facts are better than lies.” That's another one that was coming up to my mind, of another way they could have named this section “facts are better than lies.” And this is why: Because anytime I'm that we are not using the facts, we're just being fluffy in the data that we are accumulating or in the way that we're reviewing the data that we have available to us, we really are just lying to ourselves, we have our heads in the sand. And often we do it because we're afraid of what the data might show, or we're just too lazy to use the information we have in front of us or to gather the information we need to make great decisions. 

So, one of the foundational principles in the book, Good to Great, is “facing the brutal facts” or “face the brutal facts.” That truly is one of the things that we must do in business in order to take things to the next level. Dan Sullivan is often quoted by saying, “All progress starts by telling the truth,” which in my mind is a very similar thing as “facing the brutal facts.” We can't move forward, we can't progress or go to the next level until we tell the truth, until the brutal facts are in front of us; the facts that whether they're good or bad are the truth, and the truth will help us be able to break through. Now, Jim Collins says, “In the research —” that they did for this book — “breakthrough results came about by a series of good decisions diligently executed and accumulated one on top of another.” Of course, the “Good to Great” companies did not have a perfect track record. But on the whole, they made many more good decisions than bad ones. You hear that little statement from Good to Great, you think, “Okay, yeah, of course, that makes sense.” Having each good decision one on top of another makes the difference, and having more good decisions make the bad decisions, of course, that's going to yield great results. As simple as it seems, many of us don't do this. As soon as we stop telling the truth or facing the brutal facts, the decisions we're making, in turn, will not be good decisions; they won't have the full information, the full data, in front of us. And that's where things can begin to spiral. As soon as you make assumptions that aren't true or assumptions that are farther away from the truth and you're not constantly seeking the truth, in the end, your decisions will get poor and poor. Even though you may be using some of the basic assumptions that you have in your mind, you think, “Well, it worked for us in the past, it should continue to work for us in the future.” But that is not necessarily true. Jim Collins continues, he said, “You absolutely cannot make a series of good decisions without first confronting the brutal facts.” There's no way to continue to make a series of good decisions one after another without first confronting the brutal facts. He goes on to say this: “Yes, leadership is about vision. But leadership is equally about creating a climate where the truth is heard and the brutal facts confronted. There’s a huge difference between the opportunity to ‘have your say’ and the opportunity to be heard. The good-to-great leaders understood this distinction, creating a culture wherein people had a tremendous opportunity to be heard and, ultimately, for the truth to be heard.”

Now, there's a lot in there. He talks about leadership. So, you as the leader, you as the business owner, whatever it might be, you are the one that must create a climate where the truth is heard and the brutal facts confront it. So, in your leadership, are you truly allowing people to speak the truth? Are you longing to simply have their say, like Jim Collins talks about, where they're able to just speak? Or are you giving them the opportunity truly to be heard. It’s a subtle distinction but it is a big distinction in the way that the company operates and the way that decisions are made. And whether or not your people will continue to bring up these brutal facts to you. It all depends on how we take the information and what we do with it. Are we willing to listen, truly listen, to our people and the truth that they tell us? Are we truly here to listen? And is there a climate, a culture within our organisation that allows this? And we as the leaders, are we at the forefront of this? Are we asking for this? 

This actually reminds me a little bit of the interview that we had just last week. If you haven't heard that episode yet, go ahead and listen to last week's episode, where I interviewed Organisational Psychologist and Author, Dr. Benjamin Hardy. Dr. Benjamin Hardy is the world's leading expert on future self and the author of the book Be Your Future Self Now. He talks about creating a similar climate in our lives where truth is heard. But he talks about doing this in regards to ourselves and our own desired progress, to becoming our future self; our future self as the best leader possible in our lives, best businessman, best person, best father, husband, best athlete, most fit person, whatever it is that you're seeking, that you want most about getting clear on what that future self is, what that person is that you want to become and beginning to be that person now. I believe that in order to create a climate, like Jim Collins is talking about, where the truth is heard, we have to begin with ourselves, by beginning to see the truth and confront the brutal facts in our own life, in our own leadership, before we can create a climate like this in our organisation. People can tell if you've done the internal work first to become the leader that you need to become. 

So, Ben Hardy shared this quote. This is one of my favourite quotes that he shared. This is by the name of Robert Brault is the one who shared this quote then Ben shared it with us on the podcast last week. He said, “We are kept from our goals, not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” So, does that ring true in your life, in your personal improvement? Are you looking at your goals that you haven't had hit and thinking about all the obstacles that were in your way to hit that? Because what he shares here is it's often not the obstacles that are in our way, but a clear path to a lesser goal. So, what is this lesser goal in your personal life? What's easier than becoming that person you say you want to become or that leader you say you want to become? What lesser goals are there in front of you? And then, in turn, which of these are keeping you from being able to be that person at work with your own people as you lead and helping to confront the brutal facts and tell the truth there, as well? What does it do for you, I believe that in business and in our own lives, it seems easier in the short term to just keep the status quo. Instead of facing the brutal facts in our businesses or in our personal lives, it's easier to keep things as they are, which truly is the clear path to a lesser goal. Keeping the status quo is truly a lesser goal. Or as we begin to look at other options that we can do often, the easier thing to do is not the best for us in the long term. So, are we on a path to a lesser goal or are we actually going after this ultimate goal that we want? Are we keeping the status quo and just sticking with mediocrity in our business and life or are we taking it to another level? Now, I know for me, I don't want to settle for simply good or mediocre. So, if I know that I don't want to simply be good, I want to be great, like the book says. If I don't want to have mediocrity in all parts of my life, but I want to be great, exceptional; I must start with the brutal facts, internally, which will then allow me to continue to face the brutal facts in my business as well. 

So, do you have a culture in your company of telling the truth and truly being heard so that your people have a chance to tell the truth? And is it acted upon? Do we have an internal culture in our own world? Now, this internal culture you might want to call it as your habits. That's really what it is. Little soundtrack going on in your head, that internal culture that you have, do you have the same desire for the truth to be heard and the sought after? At the beginning, we share the quote, “All progress starts by telling the truth.” What are you telling yourself? Are you telling the truth in your life? Are you telling the truth in your business of where you're at? Don't be afraid to face the brutal facts and tell the truth. You got this, I know you do. And if you want some help working through this and be able to take your life to the next level, this is the exact kind of thing that I help work through with my one-on-one coaching clients. We take the areas of your life where you're looking to improve and we help create a game plan, we help get clarity on what it will look like and what you can do today to be that man, to be that leader. So, give me a call if you want to chat through this one-on-one and take it to another level. Now, go and be the Unrivaled Man in your life.