May 4, 2016

by Connie Chwan

We Are Open Sign.jpg

I think we could all agree that being open and honest is important in our personal lives. Our friends and our family members value it, and it helps us build relationships and establish trust with the people we care about.

And much like our personal lives, being open and honest can have a strong impact on the people in our professional lives, such as our employees, our customers, and our community.

I have already discussed how being open and honest builds the foundation of your business. Openness and honesty are used to communicate your business’s Core Values, and provide a list of expectations your employees live by.

But in addition to building a foundation, being open and honest plays a fundamental role in helping us resolve issues.

With EOS, we encourage – no, make that expect and teach – our clients to be open and honest with themselves, with each other, with everyone in their company, and with us. It is the only way companies can move forward, solve issues, create powerful Visions, and discover their Core Values.

Barriers to Being Open at Work

But in my experience as an EOS Implementer, I have found that while most people are able to be honest, it is more difficult for them to feel like they can be open.

Most people stop themselves from being open because they do not trust their team members to respect their thoughts and viewpoints. Additionally, they may believe it is too hard, or they are not being passionate enough about their views, or they think being open won’t make a difference.
These thoughts, and all the other ones running through their minds, are what create the elephants in the room – those issues no one wants to talk about.

Developing Openness on Your Leadership Team

So here is an exercise one of my colleagues, Dan Wallace, has his clients do: each member of the Leadership Team writes down a list of issues they are not willing to discuss or believe there is no point in discussing.

They then tear up the list and throw it way – the Leadership Team has just demonstrated they are not being open because they don’t trust their team members.

It takes courage to be open. And sometimes it takes courage to be honest. But if you’ve built an environment where your leadership team is encouraged to share ideas, be supportive of one another, and be accepting of new perspectives, they’ll find the courage to be both open and honest. And magnificent ideas will be born.

So step up and talk about the elephant in the room. At the end of the discussion, you may just discover that you not only solved the issue, but that everyone is still at the table.

This article first appeared on the EOS Worldwide Blog on April 11th, 2016.

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