Tell the Truth

Over time a company’s official history becomes ideology and people need the truth of reality to help them grow.

On my first trip to Berlin I toured the former Deutsche Demokratische Republik including a number of museums and memorials describing the former communist state, the Berlin Wall, and life within its boundaries. We’re now well aware of the reasons the totalitarian state collapsed. Central planning failed to provide for the needs of citizens. Official “full employment” resulted in idleness and dissatisfying jobs. And the need to further a core ideology made experimentation – and therefore innovation – highly unlikely. Nothing remarkable was possible, the human spirit suffered, and eventually the whole system collapsed.

It reminded me of some companies I’ve worked for.

“Comrade Lombardi, I think you are mistaken in your effort to respond to these so-called customers, as the Party Leader has already informed us, there are no customers. There are only distribution end points. I am sure that lowering your bread rations will help you understand this.”

This management-knows-all behavior creates fear that quickly overcomes the simple desire to tell the truth. When official disinformation is possible in entire countries, it easily happens in companies.

Central planning. Unnecessarily large teams. Official ideology. Poor moral. Are you working in a totalitarian company?


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