The willingness to look truth in the eyes is one of the keys to organizational health. Too often, leaders gloss over problems and issues in the organization they lead rather than facing them squarely, admitting that they exist and using that reality as an opportunity to grow, become better and rattle the comfort of the status quo. The very thing we are often afraid to admit - our organizational shortcomings become powerful tools for change when named.
From time to time I receive a call from a ministry or industry leader who says, "We have a problem, would you be willing to help us figure it out, identify it and solve it." That immediately tells me that this organization has the courage to be truthful about their situation, allow a third party who has fresh eyes to look at it and use the information to improve. It takes courage to bring in an outside party who can name the issues and help frame the solutions.
Often we gloss over issues and problems that we know are resident within our organization as if ignoring them will somehow help them go away. We gloss out of fear, because we are afraid of what we might actually find or because we are conflict avoidant. It is a mistake! It is a mistake because the very problems we seek to ignore could become our greatest accelerators of growth if we were willing to face them squarely, name them and focus on solving them.
I live by a simple leadership premise (and it works personally as well). Truth about our situation can be one of the greatest accelerators of growth when we are willing to face reality and solve problems. Seen in that light, problems are an opportunity not a threat. Truth has power. Wishful thinking does not.