11. Speak Straight.

Express yourself honestly in a way that moves the action forward. Be clear and direct, but thoughtful. Bring the water cooler to the meeting and have the courage to ask questions, share ideas, or raise issues that may cause conflict when it’s necessary for team success. Address issues directly with those who are involved or affected.

Brian's Message:


If I’m going to share my thoughts on the importance of the fundamental Speak Straight, I need to come clean early… this is challenging for me.

Very few people want to share news or information that does not want to be heard. When I’m responsible for delivering that type of information, I have a tendency to sugar coat enough to give your ears cavities!

In all seriousness, speaking straight is not just about delivering a difficult message — it’s about effective communication. It makes those around us feel secure, because no one is manipulated and we know up front what is being done and why.

We know there is not just one thing we must collectively do in order to maximize our success. Our collective success — as individuals, as teams, as branches and segments of a business still going strong in its 85th year — is simply due to flat-out hard work at every level of our business.

Speaking straight is helping one another by providing not just accurate information, but also the correct amount. Without accurate information, realistic goals cannot be set. With too much information, “analysis paralysis” can delay important decisions. Speaking straight enables each of us to manage ourselves and the people we work with so that both the organization and the people profit from our efforts.

Marc Blaushild’s monthly conference calls and the transparency he displays are an excellent example of Speaking Straight. If we were a ship, he’d be the captain and we’d be the engine… a pretty big one, at that. The fuel for our engine would be Marc’s monthly message and the monthly reviews of our company performance. The information and numbers he presents are far more positive than negative, but sometimes the message he delivers isn’t what we want to hear — but it’s what we need to hear because it is direct and clear. Let’s give our captain a great ride by speaking straight to each other and enabling our goals to be reached.