A Culture of Truth Starts at the Top (?)
I clearly have some issues with hierarchy, and since I'm all about systems, I often find myself pointing out ways that people who are NOT in official positions of power can work to make things happen, change things, etc. In general, if someone says X needs to come from the top of the organization, I find myself pushing back, arguing that while the top certainly needs to do something, you (in the middle, at the bottom, wherever) also can be doing something.
But I wonder if that general philosophy does not apply as much to the challenge of building an organization where more truth is spoken. I've written before about the four different areas that need attention when you're building a culture of truth (walk, talk, structure, and culture). I always thought that gave any system lots of opportunities for building a more truth-friendly workplace.
But I think the issue of speaking the truth is much more closely tied to some built in assumptions about hierarchy and power than I had realized. Maybe this is not something that can come from the ground up. Although eventually your organization will need to undergo changes in individual behavior, public statements, specific processes or structures, none of that really gets started unless the core group (usually senior management) actually lives this new culture and models it. Before anything else happens, the people who are in charge need to make a change, and the people who are not in charge need to see that change in action. That is a prerequisite for all the other important work that needs to be done to build a more truth-friendly workplace.
What do you think?