Only the truth sounds like the truth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released their October jobs report and the numbers are pretty sobering – 6.5% unemployment rate, up 2 points from a year ago and a 14 year high – a net employment loss in the U.S. of almost 250,000 jobs.  Here’s Howard Behar’s advice to CEOs and senior leaders out there: “Only the truth sounds like the truth.”

Recently I had the honor of interviewing Howard Behar.  Years ago Howard, former President of Starbucks, was President of a company under siege.  They were under serious economic duress and facing severe cutbacks in resources and people to support their mission.  When someone on the leading team inadvertently left a copy of the draft plan on the copier, Howard found himself inundated with questions about the Executive team’s plans for handling the financial crisis.

He met with his management team early in the morning and bantered ideas about addressing the pressing questions.  Some of the suggestions from around the table were to dismiss the report as false or inaccurate.  But of course, the truth was that the report was their real intention.  His administrative assistant looked at Howard and said, “Only the truth sounds like the truth.”  Boy, isn’t that the truth.

Watch Howard describe what happened next when leaders offer only hard honest truths to people in the organization.