Leadership Limerick: Getting All the Facts

Every Monday, I offer a leadership limerick, highlighting an idea or strategy about effective leadership in limerick form. Searching for leadership limerick will identify previous posts.
The tough calls can be a source of pride
But brutal facts aren't something to hide

As a group you’re more able
With all the info on the table

When you have something big to decide

I can no longer be trusted with a half-gallon of ice cream.  I've deluded myself for many years saying I'll limit myself to a cup of ice cream each day and no more, but the evidence of empty cartons only days later would suggest my willpower is definitely lacking.  As a result, I no longer buy ice cream to keep in the house.  Accepting the need to make that decision took a very long time.

Leaders are confronted with choices dramatically greater in scope and consequence than my self-imposed ice cream cutoff, but the difficulty in coming to terms with the truth is not that much different.  Jim Collins first explored the importance of confronting the brutal facts in Good to Great and then examined the consequences of not doing so in How the Mighty Fall.  He suggests that leaders must have faith in the ability to prevail, but not let that faith obscure the brutal facts of an organization's present reality.

We must help create a safe climate throughout organizations that allows difficult truths to be expressed without blame, as well as ensure that any decision-making sessions engage the complete set of facts and explore their real implications for the choices we make.

It doesn't take much leadership to make the easy calls or avoid reality.  The true test of leadership lies in doing just the opposite whether we are leading an organization or leading ourselves.

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