Honesty: Let’s Get Real
Honesty and integrity have always been personal values as well as core values for bookskeep. I assumed because I am an honest person, I wouldn’t learn much from this book. I was wrong. I loved delving into how our current culture and past cultures like the ancient Romans and Egyptians skirt around honesty to buy their way into the afterlife. I loved understanding how honesty, as part of our business culture, begins with being honest about what we tell ourselves regarding the market and employee satisfaction, etc. I mostly loved how it made me think about my definition of honesty, not only as truthful and virtuous but also as transparent, candid, open minded, ready to admit fault, willing to change and even willing to see the truth that we become blinded sometimes, too.
When we really get honest, we can identify our self-limiting roadblocks and destroy fear and rapidly achieve our greatest potential. For many entrepreneurs I work with, I see them viewing their business and opportunities with rose-colored glasses. The inability to honestly assess a situation causes them to be distracted by too many opportunities, to not face the hard facts and to hasten the demise of their business. I’m an optimist like most entrepreneurs and I realize that it can cause a blindspot.
Exploring How Honesty Affects Your Business
Peter’s book takes you through three sections. Part One: Why Honesty? Why Now? Part Two: What It Means to be an Honest Organization; and Part Three: How to Use Brutal Honesty to Achieve Massive Success.
In Part One, Peter introduces The Hourglass of Honesty. Basically, as you become more honest with yourself, the narrow portion of the hourglass radiates to a wider audience in your inner circle and even wider out to your community. The impact of being self-aware and setting your personal and professional goals from an honest place means that you attract the right people to achieve those goals. Here is how Peter describes it, “They (honest goals) enabled me to bend the community toward me to make remarkable things happen within a very short period of time.”
In Part Two, the major business functions of Sales, Marketing, Finance, Management, Communication, Innovation and Leadership are explored using case studies from businesses such as Netflix, Blockbuster, Domino’s Pizza, Ritz Carlton, Warren Buffet, Sprint, the Girl Scouts and more. It really is uplifting to see how radical attention to brutal honesty leads to business growth. It’s not a quick or easy path, but it does pay off. Peter sums up the innovation section by requoting one of my favorite business authors, Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
In Part Three, the book makes it all actionable and personal. He provides directions for introducing your team to the concept that those team members closest to the customers have the best insights to the customers’ concerns and issues. In other words, the frontlines of an organization know and can act quickly, compared to the executive boardroom. When this culture is in place, your employees know they come first in your organization and can confidently do what is right to serve the customer.
You Can’t Change What You Don’t Know
Each chapter ends with questions to encourage you to reflect honestly about that aspect of your business. The book also gives access to extra resources such as an Honesty Quiz and a workbook to help you become more self-aware and to introduce honesty into your organization. As with so many things, the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. Honesty, which I learned as a child, has so much more depth as I’ve begun working through his questions. I’ve enjoyed this book and it is making me think. I hope you’ll pick up a copy and get honest with yourself. It’s good for you. It’s good for your business.
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