I got two letters in the mail last month that were baffling. They came together in the same envelope. I read them six times and still wasn’t sure what was true. In fact, after reading them, I had more questions than answers. It caused a severe distrust for the organization, and now I’m searching for the truth.

I spoke with several others about the letter. Many didn’t “get it” the first time and thought, “Oh well, I’m sure they handled it.” I only saw flashing warning lights.

To trust, I must know the truth. And so I started seeking it.

Are you a seeker of truth in your company? Do you trust the people, information, and business results? Do you know the reality?

Why am I asking?

I don’t think I need to cite any more examples than the current election cycle and covid landscape. Fast information, always changing, tons of experts, and polarizing opinions, what’s true?

The amount of information you receive is now so exhaustive and analysis so quick that slowing down and taking a more discerning approach is critical as you head into the fourth quarter during the weirdest time in our lives.

You were at war for the second and third quarters. You had to move fast, break things, and innovate. Now it’s time to slow down, reassess, understand your current position and move forward.

But first, you need to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. In war, you don’t worry as much about culture, the right people in the right seats, the slow leaks, interpersonal tension, or training and development. You survive to live another day.

It’s time to reassess your company, figure out what’s true, and plan accordingly.

How to find the truth in your company (and life)

1. Know what you know
Your experience has already led you to know truths about your business, industry, and the world out there. Don’t discount that.

2. Ask Questions – lots of them
Feel a biting or pricking in the back of your brain? Something doesn’t sound right, feel right, or has a tiny yellow flag attached to it? Ask open ended what, how, and then why questions.

3. Research and Reach Out
Still don’t like what you hear? It’s time to embrace your inner Sherlock Holmes and do research, talk to different people and layers within the organization and gather data – both raw and analyzed to see what the story tells you.

4. Evaluate Facts (not feelings)
To discern the information you have gathered, you’ll want to evaluate what you know to be factual. Results are your most significant indicator.

5. Be Open to All Information
You may find something you don’t want to “see.” The second employee who is your friend and valuable when you started the company is now the barrier to a healthy culture. You keep innovating new products and optimizing your manufacturing process, but sales have been trending down. These are hard to want to “see.” Don’t ignore the hard stuff.

6. Understand Your Bias
That’s right. You are biased. Like number five, you can blind yourself by being too attached to one person or the way you have always done it. Bring others to the conversation to help you see and understand personal or organizational bias.

The truth isn’t always fun, but the truth is real. When you see, understand, and accept it, the next steps are easy to plan and you will build a pile of trust with your team going forward.