August 1998 / Special Feature : An Issue Of Trust
Trust In Whom
by Peter Block
Emergency Room Physician
Air Traffic Controller
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 todays 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.
What Truth Means to Flynn
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.
What generated the most thought: Lead, follow and get out of the way passages. Flynn suggests that Lee Iacoccas 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: Flynns 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 persons 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.