Second post in my Culture series, which lays out a small collection of ways of being related to the cultural theme of Truth.
Be open. Put your cards on the table. Let people know what you are doing. Invite more eyes on your projects and plans and accept the feedback of others. It is how we become better. Given uncompromisingly sincere feedback to others, including your superiors, and invite open honest feedback on yourself, no matter uncomfortable. That is how we become better. Truth is our mirror. Being open is fundamental to trust, given and earned.
Be curious. Relentless curiosity it fundamental to your ability to get to the truth. What do our customers do? What do they want? What delights them? What do our products and services do? Why are they valuable? How can I connect the dots? How does this work? Why do we do things this way? What if we did them differently? What if we did them really differently? Would that be better or worse? This looks better, but I am not sure — can I try it out easily and become certain one way or another? Curiosity fuels innovation.
Listen. What are people telling you? What are they really telling you? What do they mean? Listening to and hearing our customers is vital to our ability to succeed. Likewise, listening to and hearing our colleagues is vital to our ability to collaborate. Listening is fundamental to the idea of partnership.
Watch out for blind spots. We all have them, and they trip us up. Our biases make us see the truth differently than what it really is. Be aware of those blind spots, seek feedback from others to help you identify them, and challenge yourself to make sure you do not fall into them. And remember that other people have blind spots too — you have to watch out for their blind spots as much as your own or you might both be drawn down the wrong path.
Look up and down. Like many things in life, problems and ideas have multiple layers to them. We tend to come into initial contact with a problem or idea at some random layer. We need to dig down to the root causes and up to the big picture to really get a full view and appreciation for what we are dealing with.
Look around. Engage in lateral thinking and look for related problems and ideas. Are they connected to the one you are looking at? Is there a bigger picture here? Do they inspire innovative thinking? How does your truth relate to the truth of those around you? Are you playing a 'broken squares game'?
Think clearly. We need analytics as well as data! Use your brain to reason things through. Challenge yourself relentlessly to make sure you are truly following logic and sense. Assume the opposite of what you think and see where that leads -- do you get an inconsistent result when you do that? Don't speculate -- find out!
Be persistent. Don’t give up! The truth is really hard to get at, much harder than most people realize. But once you are there, things become light and easy. Be relentless in your pursuit of what is true. Don’t accept what you hear at face value. Probe deeply, constructively challenge yourself and others, including authority. Persistently pursuing the truth is critical to your and our performance.
>> Culture, part 3: Excellence
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