This fundamental was written by Ron Ciliberti. Ron Ciliberti is the VP of Finance at Eastern Funding, LLC. He has been with the Eastern for over three years. Before arriving at Eastern Funding, Ron began his career working in public accounting. Since then Ron has held Controller and CFO positions at both private and publicly traded companies.
Speak Straight – Speak honestly in a way that moves the action forward. Say what you mean, and be willing to raise issues that may result in discomfort or conflict when it’s necessary to reach our goals. Address issues directly with those who are and involved and/or affected.
It has been just over a year since I wrote and shared my thoughts on this fundamental – I thought it was worth re-sharing.
For me, the fundamental of speaking straight invoked two immediate reactions. My first reaction was that this is a powerful fundamental that should not be limited to just speaking. After all, I am sure we all would agree that honesty is the best policy. In addition, so much of our communication is performed via email, text, etc., that I suggest we replace the word “speak” with the word “operate.” This way, our fundamental will extend to all forms of communication, whether oral, written, or in deed.
My second reaction was thinking that speaking straight could perhaps assist with last week’s listening generously fundamental, which touches on challenges we all sometimes face in this age of multitasking and not providing our undivided attention to listening.
So what does it mean?
Anyone who has been in the workforce for a length of time is a problem solver. It becomes part of the skills developed by working, so it is quite natural that we begin to form solutions as we are presented with an issue. It is how we stay invested in listening. The key to be aware of is we all need to communicate clearly, efficiently, directly and honestly in a manner that solves problems and moves the action to its ultimate conclusion. It is not that we are terrible at listening as much as it is that when we communicate, we may take too long to get there, causing us to loss our audience. One of the best illustrations of this behavior is the long email or slow talk voicemail we have all received. We all know if you do not communicate your wishes upfront, you run a very strong risk of having your voicemail deleted or email not being fully read.
Evaluate the magnitude of the communication, then lead with what you want to communicate, consider solutions and play out scenarios on your own before you engage others. One of the traits I admire in a colleague is when someone takes the time beforehand to identify the issue and provide the possible solution for others to consider. The person who asks the questions controls the conversation. Ask good questions to get good answers.
And lastly, over 2,000 years ago, Cicero was credited with this quote: “When you wish to instruct, be brief; that people’s minds take in quickly what you say, learn its lesson, and retain it faithfully. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind.” Of course, Cicero does not translate as well today as I would have liked, but as you can see, this has been a challenge through the ages.
Let’s all have a productive week and look forward to next week’s fundamental – Set and ask for expectations.