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Facts First

June/July 2012

There’s an old expression that says: “It’s time to face the facts.” There is a great deal of wisdom in this saying, and I would like to show the importance of putting facts first, whether in business or personal situations.

I firmly believe that facts are essential in everything. Many times when people are faced with uncomfortable or difficult situations they tend to sugar coat things in an effort to spare someone’s feelings. While this may be done with the best of intentions, it does nothing to help solve the underlying problem, and will actually hurt the individual and worsen the situation in the long run. This is what is known as short-term harmony, and in the big scheme of things it leads to more problems than it solves.

Striving to maintain long-term harmony will lead to increased efficiency and ultimately to sustainability. The truth transforms and helps us to develop long-term harmony in our communities, businesses and many other aspects of our lives. It’s loyalty to the truth that sustains many businesses enabling new value to emerge for everyone involved.

Here is a hypothetical example of short-term harmony that further illustrates my point. Let’s say there is an employee in a supervisory position. This person is good, intelligent and hardworking, but one who tends to excuse inappropriate behavior and fails to correct employees when the need arises. As a result, the bad behavior of one or two employees begins to drag down those around them, efficiency begins to suffer, employee morale declines and eventually the company’s profitability begins to fall.

To avoid situations such as this and achieve long-term harmony, unacceptable behavior must be addressed immediately. While the truth may hurt, people can and will get past the hurt and begin to understand. By setting expectations and explaining them thoroughly, then addressing all issues openly and honestly, we can achieve the harmony and efficiency we seek.

I believe that placing emphasis on issues such as facts, truthfulness and long-term harmony are vital to the continued success of businesses. I am aware that some members of our team are of the opinion that “Don is never satisfied,” and that’s true if you’re a glass half empty type of person.

I prefer to view my outlook as always open to change and improvement. Whatever your perception, it is my aim and long standing goal to always improve, learn and grow. For our employees to grow their careers, we all must continue developing both personally and professionally. It’s important to remember that improvement comes through efforts made by the whole team, not just the higher-ups.

Everyone across the board should constantly strive to improve. By focusing on things like long-term harmony, efficiency and new value, you’ll find that profitability is the by-product and that’s something that benefits every team member.