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How Often Do You Give The Gift Of Unfiltered Truth?
Val Wright -- Global Leadership and Innovation Expert Val Wright -- Global Leadership and Innovation Expert
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Los Angeles, CA
Saturday, December 24, 2022


I had just walked off stage in Los Angeles at Gartner's Evanta CIO Summit when an executive said to me:

"Val, thank you, to say I had an epiphany might be putting it a bit strong, but I certainly had a wake up call, you made me realize that I don't encourage people around me to tell me the truth! Thank you!"

Now I frequently hear from executives who tell me their boss, their peer, their company doesn't encourage truth telling. I have also worked with CEOs who have asked me to help one of their executives become more of a truth teller in strategy conversations and board presentations, and in my executive advisory work I have observed some of my clients create dynamics in teams where truth telling isn't easy and I have needed to provide feedback and support to improve this. But this is the first time I heard directly from an executive who was prepared to openly admit that they haven't been the best at creating a working environment where truth telling is encouraged, sought after, and rewarded.

150 CIOs had just heard my opening keynote Developing a Company of Truth Tellers. I'll share here the reflection on my Truth Telling Test® I asked the audience to complete by rating the following questions from page 7 of my latest book Words That Work:

1:Strongly disagree, 2:Disagree, 3:Neither agree nor disagree, 4:Agree, 5:Strongly agree 

  1. I’m regularly given good/mediocre/ugly news in a timely manner. 

  2. I seek out contrarian reviews and enthusiastically receive them even if it is uncomfortable. 

  3. I am told when my ideas won’t work or when there is a better alternative. 

  4. There is healthy disagreement in my executive team discussions. 

  5. I actively encourage, coach, and reward truth telling in teams I lead.

This is part of the Truth-Telling Test® I’ve used with companies all around the world. It is a baseline for accelerating innovation and growth because new ideas won’t fly if you can’t be direct with each other. 

There are two more sections where you assess the truth telling ability of your immediate manager and your company. You can find the full assessment here. You can also find more resources on Truth-Telling in Chapter One of my latest book Words That Work: Communicate Your Purpose, Your Profit, and Your Performance. Truth-Telling is even in the free sample chapter that you can download here.

While I was on stage talking Truth-Telling, I also asked everyone to hold up their copy of Words That Work and look entertained. In the spirit of Truth-Telling I promised I would let people know I had asked for those entertained faces! You can see the photo here

How can you give the gift of Truth-Telling to your teams, peers, and bosses?


Do you know an event, company, or team who could benefit from hearing me talk on Truth-Telling? I also customize workshops around this topic and others from my three books. Here's what I covered last week, I would be happy to chat about potential events and opportunities.

Developing a Company of Truth Tellers

The more senior you rise, the fewer people tell you the unfiltered truth. Yet, those at the top of companies need the most direct feedback. No one wants to be lied to, yet untruths are everywhere. No one wants to admit they may occasionally lie, but they hypocritically expect everyone else to always tell the truth. It is easy for teams to fall into polite habits and avoid direct debates. Instead, head nodding through a meeting and sharing what you think someone wants to hear vs. what they need to hear.

  • You will learn:How to demolish the executive insulation layer that is preventing you hearing candid feedback

  • The Truth Telling Test to evaluate how you, your boss, your peers and your team tell the truth

  • Key words that work for the most common difficult scenarios for telling the truth

  • Meeting tips for encouraging others to share what they really think!

Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday break!

Dedicated to growing your business,


P.S. I hope you enjoyed this week's VAL-uable Insights, sign up here to get them in your inbox each Monday morning: http://valwrightconsulting.com/newsletter-sign-up/

  Val Wright is a recognized leadership and organization expert. Working with Xbox, Microsoft, Amazon and LinkedIn, she has spent the last 20 years partnering with executives to accelerate growth and gain market superiority across the the games, technology, retail and e-commerce industries.

She is know for telling leaders what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Leaders seek her out when they need to accelerate their business results, build organizations, develop leaders and create world-class people strategies. Val is a dynamic speaker who will provoke, inspire and provide immediate value to your audience. She has been quoted in Fast Company, E-commerce times, Yahoo.com, Aol.com, usnews.com, NJ.com, TheNetworkJournal.com and TechNerwsWorld.com.

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