Books Organization Reflections

Confronting the Brutal Facts of Reality

Morning Mist
Credit: flickr / jeffsmallwood

In Good to Great (Amazon), one of the things they found to differentiate great companies is that they confront the brutal facts of reality. It’s a question I’m asking myself more often since reading the book – am I being brutally honest with myself? Is this how reality actually is? Am I ignoring anything that will come back to bite me later? As a result, I’m trying to address the things head on that I find myself being less than honest about.

I think of it like (don’t ask how I came up with this analogy), you have a barn which you use to store turnips. You’re burn is burning down. Are you still out there picking turnips?

It’s sometimes easy to be incredibly productive and yet – not address the truly important thing, the burning barn. Which is stupid, because in the end, it doesn’t matter how many turnips you pick if you have nowhere to store them.

If you have a burning barn, stop picking turnips and start throwing some water on it. It may be harder, and less satisfying, and more scary. But letting it continue will ultimately be so much worse.

2 replies on “Confronting the Brutal Facts of Reality”

Great book choice Cate. Really liked the post and analogy.

Something else to throw on the burning barn so to speak:

Awareness precedes choice precedes change.

For someone picking turnips in the field to save the barn they have to know it is burning first … then they can chose between picking turnips or saving the barn.

To face the brutal facts means first and foremost being able to look through that fog which clouds many things in life and objectively assess the facts. Very challenging indeed.

Many times people just can’t see the barn for all the turnips in the field.

Hope all is well.

Thanks Ian, you’re totally right. Working out what the brutal facts are is so important. In the book, it’s clear that the comparison companies tended to have the same information but just ignore some important details. In our own lives, it’s probably a lot easier to be blind to the brutal thing we need to face!

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