Sometimes the funniest things trick a great memory. This weekend at Coachella it was when the Billy Talent band played their popular song “Try Honesty.”
In 1991, I made a significant career transition moving from middle management in Operations and Manufacturing to Supply Chain Management. I was fortunate enough for the senior executive to recognize that I would likely need guidance to be successful and he asked Ron to be my mentor during the transition. Ron was recognized within the industry as an expert and a developer of talent.
The manufacturing world I was coming from was tough, aggressive, long hours, competitive, cut throat and entrenched in heavy Theory X. They trained me for the previous ten years to function in that world, so I assumed all organizations worked the same way. I can remember Ron’s first lesson to me in successful supplier relationships. We had one situation where we needed a supplier to implement a change that would cost them a little money, and we were not in a position to pay for it right then. Ron and I were brainstorming how we were going to accomplish the task at hand. Ron let me toss out idea after idea and finally made this suggestion, “why don’t we tell them the truth?” That had not crossed my mind.
The supplier responded very positively to our request and I learned a valuable lesson I’ve used since. Even in the worse cases, always be honest.
We have all seen careers tumble due to lack of stating the truth, but have you experienced careers accelerate due someone’s courage to tell the truth?