The Value of Telling It to You Straight

SEABROOKS SAYS: Careful now. Get a good grip when trusted folks give you straight talk.  Do whatever it takes to react positively. Read on…

Here is a lesson I learned recently based on personal experience. I wonder if you see yourself in any of this. For those of you I’ve not met, I’m a business owner and I coach other business owners and their teams. I’ve got a bit of a niche coaching and teaching businesses and teams that seem to hit a hurdle they just can’t get past. The hurdle comes in several forms. It could be the need for the business to become more valuable or profitable or it could be the organization is growing yet unsure about their next level of leadership, management or building a great team. However it presents itself, I’m expected to be congruent with what I teach. So, while working hard to help others get the life they enjoy via a business that supports what they want to achieve, I find myself saying something that pushes them past where they stop on their own; clearing the hurdle. Sometimes this requires being blunt. Most of these folks have already enjoyed some level of success and are pretty smart. They’ve even surrounded themselves with smart people.

The problem is, the people they surround themselves with are reluctant to tell it straight; afraid to tell the boss the truth about what’s going on in the business. It might make him or her mad and could be a game changer for their career. Here’s the lesson applied to me. This past year my own business growth was flat. So my coach says to me, “Your skills and knowledge have gotten you to this point, if you want your businesses to grow then you’re going to have to wake up and do something about your skills and your knowledge.” Hmmm. Guess who is working on ramping up his skills and knowledge?

Let me ask you, who do you have in your life that will tell it to you straight? Who has the courage, and cares for you enough, to sift through all of the political correctness and tell you what you NEED to hear?  I once strongly scolded a client that his team was terrified of him and wouldn’t bring him the information he needed in order to make better decisions. “How does that make you feel,” I said. A moment later, I got up and headed for the door and mentioned, “That’s our coaching session for the week; I’ll be back next week for your answer.” Wasn’t even sure I’d still have the client the next week. But hey, he was paying me to tell it to him straight; he already had all the “yes” people he needed surrounding him.

Whether it is in your personal life or your business, it is an absolute must that you have someone that will be honest with you—realizing that they are doing it for your own good, not theirs.

So, I have a coach that told it to me straight—concise, direct and exactly what I needed to hear.

OK, so you find someone that cares about you enough to tell it to you straight—now what? Are you going to take their advice and do something about it?  Or, are you going to smile and listen and then keep doing what you are doing?  The choice is yours—but your decision makes all the difference in the world.

It doesn’t make any difference whether it is your family, your business or your friends. Having someone willing to tell it to you straight means you absolutely must have a great relationship with them. And life is all about relationships.  With your family, your team, your community, your church, etc.  The most important thing in your life is not what tangible items you have, but rather what relationships you have.

So, let’s assume you want someone to be honest with you and tell it to you straight. What do you need to build the relationships that will lead to that? Here are three things to consider:

  1. Invest time in building relationships—mark the most important words here; it is an investment of your time, something you can’t get more of, so it’s valuable
  2. Ask people to tell it to you straight—give them permission
  3. Take action on their advice—i.e. listen and then do something. The difference this makes will be a game changer for you.

Tony Marder, President

ASM Ventures Corporation


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