Crap...brutal facts suck.

Brutal Facts

We continue Our Story today by moving from brand promises to brutal facts.

Wife: “Hon, can you grab the ketchup from the refrigerator?”

Husband: “I don’t see it, are you sure it’s in here?”

Wife: “Yes, I bought it yesterday. I put it on the top shelf in the door.”

Husband: “It’s not here.”

Wife: Reaches past the husband, grabs the ketchup, “It’s right here dear.”

These scenarios happen all the time; we miss the obvious. But have you ever been in this state of disillusion about your business?

To move from good to great, Collins says it is necessary to confront the brutal facts. Whatever those facts are for your company, you need to see them for what they really are. Without honestly assessing the state of your business, you cannot truly claim a spot among the great companies. It takes guts to face the brutal facts.

For some reason, we humans prefer to stay in the state of illusion rather than see the truth in front of us – just like the husband who could not see the ketchup that was right in front of his face. It is hardest for us to face the truth of who we are, who we are created to be and present ourselves to the world without explanation or apology.  Instead, we feel more comfortable hiding behind the façade offered by our titles, our certifications, the role we play in our family, the role we play in our community, etc. It is much easier for us to morph to fit into a mold than to just be who we are.

The desire to present a façade in place of our true selves is evident in business, as in life, because it is our very human nature. Consequently, facing the brutal facts about your business is something that is very hard for business owners and leaders to do. They’d much rather focus on the silver lining than the rain cloud. Facing the fact that perhaps their IT infrastructure causes more problems than solutions, or that they have the wrong person answering the phone, or that their overhead is an anchor slowly causing the ship to sink.

Collins warns his readers that they need to face these brutal facts. I just didn’t know what they’d be for me. Then one day I met with my marketing team and was confronted with my first brutal fact.

“We are a company creating and producing corporate awards, but we do not actually reward any of our own staff.” They looked at me squarely, “Shouldn’t we practice what we preach?”

Good question.

I had always thought that employee recognition was a feel-good-warm-and-fuzzy thing that didn’t really have any true business advantage. I thought to myself, “Sure when we reach our next sales goal, we’ll have time and money to reward a couple employees. But that isn’t a priority today. Besides I give my employees time off and benefits. Also, I bought everyone lunch last week – that should count for something, right?” Then I felt a small internal nudge suggesting, “Wait. Don’t hide. This is a brutal fact. Face it.”

Crap. Brutal facts suck.

I didn’t have an answer for my marketing department that day. My mind would not let it go, but I let the conversation drop. I pondered the idea of recognizing my own employees with more intention and more purpose. I didn’t want to start something that would turn into a distraction or become a money-hog. After all, we still need to get the f’ing awards out the door each day. That is what we do. How do I do recognition and still pay the bills, keep my bus on its route, and make money?


Stay tuned as I share the answer to this questions.

How do you uncover the brutal facts that are hiding within your organization?

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1 Comment

  • Reply David Saatzer

    I make presentations every day and keep hearing a similar story.
    So many companies, divisions, departments are in need of informal, day to day and formal recognition. Love the story.

    at 10:49 am
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