John held up the ball in his hand and asked his Chris “What colour is this ball?” to which the angry young man replied, “it’s red, of course – what that got to do with it?” John replied “Actually, from where I am sitting, it is blue”
John rotated the ball, and Chris could now see that it was red on one side, but blue on the other.
A simple story but one that illustrates the saying “There are two sides to every story”
Most of the time there are many different versions of the truth. People see things from their own perspective and often will embellish a story or an event. Sometimes that’s just to make the story more entertaining, and sometimes because their version makes them look better.
Often that is harmless but it can lead to real problems, especially if there is competition or conflict in the team. That’s when the different perspectives can become misleading and may cause you to make poor decisions.
Good decisions are based on sufficient accurate information – or blind luck. Poor quality information, including that seen from one perspective, should be eliminated or counterbalanced.
If you have doubts about something you have been told, gather more evidence!
Transparency and honesty from the leadership team will help eliminate the tendency to only tell the story from one side. If you know you are going to get found out, you won’t cross the line!
This approach works outside the company as well as within. If a supplier has let you down, and you are given an excuse that doesn’t quite ring true, check it out. Often, the supplier’s sales manager or account manager is giving you the positive story but you can get closer to the truth by asking higher up in the organisation.
The same applies to your customers – be careful what messages your team a delivering. If they are trying to keep the customer happy by embellishing the truth, they (and you) will probably get caught out. Honesty and transparency will go a long way.