Radical Honesty Creates Bulletproof Cultures

by Aug 4, 2021Operations, Resoundcast

radical honesty

Radical Honesty Creates Bulletproof Cultures

by | Aug 4, 2021

Your culture can be venomous or strong, but not both. We don’t like venomous cultures because they’re dehumanizing. We’re right to call them “wrong.” But those cultures reflect human nature; the path of least resistance. You have to rise above them purposely, and it doesn’t happen by accident. So how do you create a powerful culture where ideas work and people grow? Let’s talk about it.

Pop Culture Is Not Your Friend

Following pop culture won’t just destroy your originality and honesty; it will destroy your soul. It doesn’t know what “morality” means, and you can’t trust it for direction. Instead, know truth for yourself. Truth doesn’t come from our fickle preferences about morality; it’s the other way around.

Today’s culture is pushing back against honesty, and it’s pushing hard. It wants you to become confused about right and wrong and blur decisions. No longer do you have to deal with traditional bullying, but now you have guilt-bullying. And if you can be made to reward that bullying (by allowing it to be successful), you will allow a toxic culture to emerge.

The book of Proverbs discourages exactly this kind of management. It says it this way: “If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.” Proverbs 29:12 ESV

According to that ancient wisdom, if you listen to liars, it’s the liars who gain power. So since the antidote must be truth, how do you set truth and accountability as the standard in your operations?

1) Build a falsifiable identity. 

How do you build a culture free from lies? You expose the lies by making them easy to test. And you do that by defining things. And the heart of this is defining your values, so you can test each decision — from anyone — by the extent to which it corresponds with those well-defined values.

Remember that it’s truth — not hidden, obscure, untested ideas — that provide a clear foundation for honest, hard-working, smart people to thrive. Unclear goals and rules in a company create toxicity, since those in power are the judges of right and wrong, and they haven’t told the rest of us how they’re making decisions. No accountability. And everyone suffers.

Falsifiable brand values clarify. They make it obvious when the company isn’t living them out. Anyone can question it: an employee, a vendor, a customer. Now you have accountability everywhere, keeping you honest and making you a better company.

2) Stop Lying about Processes

We’ve all been there: we create a process or policy only to fail in its implementation. But if people lose faith in your commitment to creating a process to solve a problem, your next policy will be white noise. Not taken seriously.

To solve this, focus on the problem you’re solving. And make sure it’s clear to everyone. If you don’t do this, it’s easy for people to become cynical, thinking you have ulterior motives you’re not sharing with them. If you bully your way to the solution you want, they just think you have some selfish reason — a reason you don’t want to share — for choosing that solution. And they won’t participate in problem solving because they don’t know what the actual goal (your hidden goal) is.

Instead, share the actual goal. Try a little transparency. Why not even give a few trusted employees a seat at the table to comment on the process? Take it a step further; ask them to create the process. 

  1. Then roll the process out to the team and put it into someone’s hands to manage.
  2. Then let them know they can make changes. Let them know you’ll check in with them.
  3. Check in a week and then a month later to make sure it’s being used. If it’s not, or if it’s not going well, adjust it. 

Because it’s not important to stick to the process; but it’s important to stick to your commitment to solving the problem.

3) Reward Good, and Punish Evil

Reward honesty and good intentions. If people earn trust, give them more responsibility. If they cause problems, tell them they’re causing problems (one way or another). Not sure how to do this? Get with your fellow leaders and make a template for giving feedback.

For more on this, Resound uses principles from “The Effective Manager” to communicate with and manage employees.

Reward Honesty

As a leader, you choose whether your culture is venomous or strong, dehumanizing or rewarding — fighting with each other or fighting for the success of the company. Through your ability to solidify clear values, establish action through processes and rewarding good (and pushing evil), you can create a culture that’s serious about service, is more selfless and that rewards and grows people.

Resound Newsletter

Get more industry-leading branding and marketing insights like this delivered to you monthly.

Our Book Is Here!

Unlock the power of authentic branding to become a better marketer and business owner.

Latest Posts

Memorable Brands Have Personality

Not all brands have a personality, but the ones you remember do. Walking into a Mcdonald's is different from walking into a Chipotle. Sprouts feels different from Trader Joe’s. You get a different vibe from IKEA than you do from Bed, Bath, and Beyond. These large...

Brand Identity: Fine-Tuning Your Frequency

Bold vision separates the active from the passive, the fine-tuned brand from the scattered brand. Had he not imagined sailing into the warm waters of a faraway port on the Indian coastline, Christopher Columbus probably wouldn’t have made the two-month slog across the...

3 Questions to Supercharge Your Analytics Team

Marketing can seem confusing. There are lots of numbers and nobody understands them all. Usually, the people who are most confused about relevance are those who bring those numbers to you. Not because they’re incompetent. But because their heads are in the numbers....

3 Reasons to Avoid the Latest Marketing Fad

Fads are fun, but they wreck and confuse your marketing plan. As a B2B marketer, you probably don't want to take a stick of dynamite to your marketing plan and see what happens because "it's the latest thing." Think QR codes, TikTok, and flash mobs. Need an excuse to...

Brand Identity: What’s Your Frequency?

If you’re breaking ground with some new start-up in Austin, Texas, or in Silicon Valley, you’re in a place that eats, breathes, and sleeps disruption. If you’re a regional supplier for farming equipment, your world’s probably a bit more seasonal. But while we give a...

Brand Foundations Course

How to Unlock Your Remarkable Brand

Discover Your Brand Values, Brand Personality and Brand Story to get you and your team thinking about what your authentic brand is and how to manifest it.

Brand Webinars

Learn how to develop your brand’s foundation to get a competitive edge.

Unlock Your Remarkable Brand

Want to build unlock your remarkable brand and lasting relationships, but aren’t sure where to start? Set up a call and talk about it with Mike.

Your organization is remarkable – now start acting like it.

Our new book, You Are Remarkable, helps businesses and organizations unlock their authentic, genuine, real brand identities and express them effectively to their customers.