ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

August 1998 / Special Feature : An Issue Of Trust

An Issue Of Trust

In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

All You Ever Really Need To Know About Trust You Learned In Kindergarten

Furnishing Trust And Empowerment

Eight Organizational Strategies That Build Trust

Trust In Whom

by Peter Block
Trust Columns
John Schuster

Cliff Bolster
Joel Henning
Dan Oestreich
Felicia Seaton-Williams
Trust Interviews
Trapeze Artist
Emergency Room Physician

Air Traffic Controller
Police Officer
Park Ranger


Brief Cases
Business News Briefs

Book Review


Book Reviews With A Twist

“Truth Zone: An Experimental Approach to Organizational Development” by Ward Flynn

Should “truth,” meaning conformity with facts or reality, as opposed to simple honesty (not lying, cheating or stealing) be a core value of an organization striving for success in today’s chaotic and competitive world?

Anyone who says “yes,” should read this down-to-earth, straightforward and uniquely-organized book. Ward Flynn, an organizational development specialist, has worked with an array of businesses from Fortune 500 multi-nationals to small start-ups. Flynn specializes in building truthful organizations and quality environments.

Following the well-known, but not commonly used formula, KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), this book has three easy-to-read sections. The first section addresses organizational change, followed by seven steps to building a truthful organization and ends with an outline of practical applications.

What Truth Means to Flynn
Flynn defines the “Truthful Organization” as a set of tools to help individuals discover their own passion for participation. Furthermore, he describes the tools as action steps that support organizational initiatives, including quality, service, reengineering, customer focus and others.

According to Flynn, truth does not refer to basic honesty or moral precepts, in his judgment, honesty is a given. More specific, he stresses that a “Truthful Organization” operates from a clear vision, a set of well-defined values and employees who are personally motivated to think and act like owners.

Strong Points
“Truth Zone” is an exceptionally well-crafted publication for the reader. There is a “how to” get the most from the book page and sidebar essays illustrating key points. “Truth Zone” has many strong points, however, the most pronounced are:
� You can make a difference.
� Change is easier said than done.
� Participation gets the job done.
� Relationships are all there is.

Weak Points
Too broad a scope, and trying to balance theoretical and practical information in a process, which the author calls “trueing,” is the book’s main weakness. Flynn attempts to cover too much ground in too few pages.

What generated the most thought: “Lead, follow and get out of the way” passages. Flynn suggests that Lee Iacocca’s famous quote, “Lead, follow or get out of the way,” could be the anthem of participants in the “Truthful Organization.” The “lead,” however, means something different than what Iacocca meant. In “Truth Zone,” the expression is not exclusive: Each individual in an organization, no matter what position the person may hold, must be prepared to assume a leadership role. Furthermore, every leader must be willing to “follow.” And when leading or following is impossible, then it is necessary to “get out of the way.”

Favorite quote: “On an effective team everyone is expected to take a truthful stand, even when it goes against prevailing wisdom. Truthful dissension, in service of the shared vision, is by far more valuable than passive agreement.”

Lasting impression: Flynn’s vision of the “Truthful Organization.” A “Truthful Organization” is one in which each person knows what is expected, everyone has the tools and experience required to do the job assigned and the skills to ask for what is needed when the person’s best effort is not enough. The teams are comprised of workers who operate like owners, holding themselves accountable for their own jobs and the success of the organization. “Truth Zone” is an excellent how-to book for building a truthful organization from the bottom up. The book contains a wealth of information about transforming the workplace into a more productive, collaborative and congenial environment.

“Truth Zone: An Experimental Approach to Organizational Development,” Ward Flynn, 1998, Simon & Schuster Custom Publishing, Needham Heights, MA,, ISBN 0-536-00753, 255 pages. Reviewed by Ben L. Walton, Distribution Services Manager, Janus, Denver, Colo.

August '98 News for a Change | Email Editor

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