The brutal facts are called brutal for a reason.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly like confronting them. However, oftentimes to move forward you must. In fact, in “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, he found those good-to-great companies were the ones who confronted the brutal facts, while the mediocre companies often stuck their heads in the sand.
Collins shared you must look at the brutal facts in order to make a series of good decisions. He quotes Fred Purdue, an executive from Pitney Bowes: “When you turn over rocks and look at all the squiggly things underneath, you can either put the rock down, or you can say, ‘My job is to turn over rocks and look at the squiggly things,’ even if what you see can scare the hell out of you.”
Because ultimately it comes down to having the humility to say you don’t understand and then ask questions until you do. Collins shared those good-to-great companies often had healthy conflict and intense dialogue on the team. Things got worked out and resolved because people weren’t afraid to ask the tough questions.
“In confronting the brutal facts, the good-to-great companies left themselves stronger and more resilient, not weaker and more dispirited. There is a sense of exhilaration that comes in facing head-on the hard truths and saying, ‘We will never give up. We will never capitulate. It might take a long time, but we will find a way to prevail,’” wrote Collins.
What squiggly things have you been ignoring under your campus rec rock? What brutal facts have you yet to confront?
If need be, grab someone to hold you accountable to look at the scary things, as well as be your sounding board when you become panicked and need to talk it out.
But don’t continue sticking your head in the sand when it comes to your rec center and your staff. Confronting the brutal facts is terrifying. However, survival and success depend on it.
And don’t let the squiggly things have the power. Find them and be resolved to learn from them. Don’t think you’re going to fail; instead, see the brutal facts as an opportunity to learn and grow.
As quoted in the book from Admiral Jim Stockdale, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
So maintain the belief that you will survive and thrive, but don’t ignore the brutal facts any longer.