by Howard Goldman
There is a deeper examination of issues and concerns
that reside below the surface of social convention that is often
required to move forward in any group endeavor with energy. The
awful truth is what you say that clears the air and releases
you and others to relate and act with a new sense of freedom. This
includes the permission you cede to yourself to fully communicate
The following questions are designed to clear
your own thought process. They are useful in accessing issues
and considerations below the surface in your personal "operating
system." Once you can tell the truth to yourself about these
embedded concerns, you have a new relationship to these unexpressed
issues that frees your self-expression and the conditions that support
Please respond to the following questions if you
think they are relevant to your working life. If a particular question
does not prompt a response, or raise an issue, move on to the next
- What have you been saying that "hasn't been
- What have you been thinking and not saying?
- What "can't" you say?
- What is the awful truth about your company?
- What is the awful truth about your department,
- What's the awful truth about some of your personal
- What is the awful truth about you?
You may be more comfortable responding silently
to some of these questions if you dont want to commit your
answers to paper. The valuable part of the exercise is first telling
the awful truth to yourself. Then see whether you are willing to
communicate to others, in a setting that is appropriate and safe.
One important note - "Why" questions,
such as the following, will produce another form of "verbal
math" altogether, with consequences that can be counter-productive:
- Why cant we?
- Why do you say that?
- Why didnt it happen?
These sort of "Why" questions will usually
generate a "because" from your responder. The "because"
is almost always unhelpful in discovering the real source of the
You demonstrate courage when you communicate fully
and completely. It is an essential step in achieving your most important
goals. "Big" people, those who are up to big achievements
in their lives are usually willing to share their honest responses
to the first set of "awful truth questions with others.
All parties report a sense of relief at communicating the unsaid,
which most other people sensed anyway. The mood always shifts when
you tell the truth about whats happing: you and others can
take it, and move forward in a new clearing for accomplishment.