One of the famous exchanges between the two has Tom Cruise questioning the witness (Jack Nicholson) and the dialog went like this:
Nicholson: You want answers?
Cruise: I want the truth!
Nicholson: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something. You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!
Do Business Leaders Want the Truth?
Often time business cultures adapt a "no speak zone". The no speak zone is aimed at keeping tough dialog from being out in the open and such dialog is replaced by politically correct speak. If you address issues aggressively with the truth of a matter you're often labeled as blunt, too aggressive or inappropriate. The consequences to individuals are you can become isolated or avoided by those not wanting to deal with the issues at hand. The consequences to the business are that leaders make decisions without all the relevant facts and the people subconsciously don't agree with the decisions. This is a form of institutional passive aggressive behavior. Sound familiar?
Philip Atkinson writes in "A Study of Decline" writes: "Political Correctness (PC) is the communal tyranny that erupted in the 1980s. It was a spontaneous declaration that particular ideas, expressions and behavior, which were then legal, should be forbidden by law, and people who transgressed should be punished. (see Newspeak ) It started with a few voices but grew in popularity until it became unwritten and written law within the community. With those who were publicly declared as being not politically correct becoming the object of persecution by the mob, if not prosecution by the state."
"Unless plain speaking is allowed, clear thinking is denied.
What is The Truth?
In my previous life I spent years providing strategic consulting services to many of the Fortune 500. In every engagement we'd find an internal communications problem which bled to problems with customers and ultimately impacted the bottom line. The data was correlated, assessed, checked and validated as accurate. The facts, or truths, of the organizations constraints to improvement were centric to either a lack of communications or non-factual communications with the wrong message.
- How can you build good relations with problematic communications?
- How can you find and fix problems if you avoid hearing about them?
- How can you improve relations not founded on truths?
- If you say one thing and do another is that politically correct?
- Do you really want the truth or is it correct to avoid it?
Social media gives people and outlet to speak what is on their minds, truth or not. For business the challenges are two fold:
- Identifying the truths
- Admitting the truths rather than avoiding them
There is an old expression: Embrace the truth and it will set you free, avoid it and it will trap you. What say you?