Six significant TRUTHS OF THE WORKPLACE have become crystal clear as a result of working with thousands of business people over the last 25 years.  I challenge you to try to make these truths part of your company culture and NOT be more successful.  
Here are the Six Truths of the Workplace:

1. Most people want to do a good job.  

Very few people wake up and say “I’m going to go in and see how I can really screw things up today!.”  If this is the case,  the question is: “Why isn’t everyone doing a great job?”  

Here are 3 answers:

  • They don’t know exactly what is expected.  This is the most common reason I come across.
  • They don’t agree with what is expected.
  • They just don’t care.  

Different backgrounds, leadership style,  and organizational culture all contribute to these factors.

A positive, proactive, and achievement oriented culture supports people’s desire to do a good job.  Leadership is responsible for creating this culture.  

2. Most people given the same information will come very close to the same conclusion.  

This seems to make sense, right? 

However, why then is agreement so difficult sometimes?  It is due to the fact that everybody sees or interprets things differently. Prior conditioning, experiences, and prejudices all contribute to our world view and decision making.

Leadership has the responsibility to create the climate environment for effective communication.  That is to say, to create an environment where everybody has the same information.  And that understands the desired results. 

Here are a few supporting actions:

  • Actively listen.
  • Ask questions which lead to understanding and clarification.
  • Share and explain your perspectives.

3. Everybody wants to be somebody.  

Do you know anybody who wants to be a nobody?  I’ll bet you don’t.  So why do so many people feel unappreciated (like a nobody?)  

Organizations need to create an environment where people can be recognized. Where they CAN be somebody.  The key is to increase involvement.  As involvement increases, individuals experience a higher sense of:

  • Satisfaction
  • Responsibility
  • Commitment

And further:

  • A lower sense of frustration

It is leadership’s responsibility to create an environment which encourages and supports employee involvement. As well as one which shows people how they can win both for the organization and for themselves.

4. Most people are willing to change

In view of that, why then is change so challenging? We find that there are barriers to change.  Here are a few:

  • People not seeing the value to changing, both personally and professionally.  Solution: Make sure the organizational vision is compelling and exciting enough to generate momentum for the desired changes.
  • Poor communication of vision, values, and mission (or they are non-existent.)  Solution:  See above!
  • Lack of process or structure.  Solution:  Make sure employees understand the desired change. Moreover, they need to know how to change.  And that they CAN change.   Formal structures must support the desired changes.  The behavior of all management must be consistent with desired results and new employee expectations.  Rewards and recognition must be a part of the process.

5. It’s hard to look good in a bad system.  

Well, that makes a lot of sense, right?  That is to say, without a clearly defined vision, there is no reason for change and continuous improvement. And thus no reason to challenge the system.  Because challenging the system is exactly what needs to be done but uninspired executives and employees won’t bother.

It is leadership’s responsibility to facilitate the building of effective systems and structures.  People build the systems.  Systems drive the organization.  You create employee “buy in” by getting your people involved in how the systems and structures should change.  They know what’s not working.and should be encouraged to make recommendations for positive change.

6. Everybody needs a coach  (Or a mentor.)  

Your employees will accomplish more with encouragement, positive feedback, and someone to help them recognize their potential.  In fact, you will too!

A coach, in part:

  • Clarifies goals and agreed-upon results.
  • Identifies gaps between where an individual is and where that person needs or wants to be.
  • Helps individuals identify obstacles, and develop a strong strategy and action plan to close the gap.
  • Multiplies the positive power of the individuals when coaching the members of any organizational team.

New Action Habit: In your role as coach for your organization  align attitudes, beliefs, goals, and actions with your company’s vision.

It is leadership’s responsibility  to create the climate for coaching.

Did you notice a common theme that runs through this article?  It is that leadership has a number of responsibilities.  And you may or may not be acting on them.

In conclusion, leadership has the responsibility to:

  • Create a positive culture for employees.
  • Create the environment for effective communications.
  • Build the organizational climate environment which encourages and supports employee involvement and shows people how they can win.
  • Make sure the organizational vision is compelling and exciting enough to generate momentum for desired changes.
  • Facilitate the building of effective systems and structures.
  • Create a climate of coaching.


Here are 6 things executives can start to do today:

1) Clearly communicate expectations with everyone.

2) Ensure effective communication by making sure everyone understands.

3) Involve and engage with others more.

4) Make sure you have a compelling vision of where the organization is going.

5) Challenge the system where necessary.

6) Become a coach and get a coach.


Did this article bring to light areas you should improve on? If so you might be well served in digging a bit deeper.

Download this  worksheet: 10 organizational growing pains  by clicking here!

To sum up, you might also be interested in our Business Execution Checklist

Howard, This is great! Anyone not doing these things needs to. I have implemented these rules in my daily business activities as I interact with my people. The real truth is it has made me a more effective owner and our business a more enjoyable place to work, as we move our organization to the next level.   Steve Sheidell, President Capital City Coffee Roasters

(A huge shout out to Ray Overdorff,  Overdorff Associates for putting words to these truths and bringing them to life!)