Actors call it breaking the fourth wall. The act of looking right at the audience and letting them in on the joke.

Ferris Buehler broke it when he looked right at you from the screen and smiled after fooling his Principal yet again. And you smiled right along with him – knowing exactly what was going on.

An open door to the right people

Running on EOS® puts you in a great position to recognize the right people for your organization. But knowing yourself doesn’t necessarily mean candidates will know enough about you to make informed decisions which can increase hiring risk. has carved a very influential niche in the online employment space. Visitors and can go to the site, look up a company and see what their own employees say about them. They can see the good, the bad and the ugly.

What is management like? The culture, the opportunity for advancement, the compensation? It’s all right there.

During a conversation I had with the owner of a business services company, I learned they’d been experiencing a frustrating mixed bag of recruiting results over the last two years. Every time they thought they’d taken a couple of steps forward, it was followed by one or two steps back within six months to a year.

He told me “we’ve leaned on our core values with every new hire to ensure a culture fit. We’ve got an onboarding process we like. But some new hires still seemed to be caught off guard by what they experienced on the job.”

Then shrewd self-analysis led them to try an unorthodox approach.

The operations leader held an internal, no holds barred discussion about what the team liked and disliked about their company. The discussion yielded some surprising truths. It also brought the team and the leadership closer together.

Then, during the next round of interviews, existing team member were allowed, even encouraged to tell recruits the unvarnished truth about working at the company. Sort of a real-time, face to face, employee to candidate Glassdoor experience. They threw the door wide open.

Early interviews became a mutual information sharing experience. The company and candidate simultaneously informed each other about who they are, what they’ve experienced and what they might expect when working together.

The early results are promising. One new employee has onboarded swimmingly. Another hit a little bit of a rough patch but has accepted the needed coaching to meet the challenges they face. This time, it looks like the two steps forward might actually stick.

Trust with truth

In this story, we can see an example of Patrick Lencioni’s first law of team and organizational health – vulnerability-based trust at work. A leader’s (and by extension, the company’s) willingness to admit fallibility is a make or break variable influencing overall achievement.

Recruiting, of course, is merely the front door of your organization. The imperative for a shared information environment extends up and down the organization. Nowhere does that apply more than at the leadership team level. And it is there we count on adherence to Lencioni’s fifth law of team health – attention to results.

We know our leadership team is dedicated to the company. But are they committed to the objectives decided on and set forth by the leadership team? Or might they have distractions posed by their personal needs or the needs of the team they manage? The veritable team 1 vs team 2.

In part 2 of The Truth in 2020, we’ll discuss how the trust, both corporate and personal, is the unseen tie that binds the leadership team together.

Thoughts to Consider

With employment at record high, attracting and keeping talent is at the top of most leadership priority lists. That means ensuring the hires we make work for all.

Here are a couple of questions to consider at the start of 2020:

    1. As you reflect upon your core values, are they still representative of who you are as a company? As a leadership team?
    2. Do the people you have on your team still match the core values of the company or do you have some Accountability Chart issues?
    3. Are you acutely aware of how your people actually feel about working at your company? Are you at risk of the attitude of poor fits leaking out into other parts of your team?
    4. Is there an opportunity to improve your chances of making great hires by including your team in the process and encouraging them to share the unvarnished truth about what it’s like to work at your company?

Talk with us about a doing a core values exercise as part of your annual planning process and how they apply to maintaining a healthy and productive culture.

About Grow Exceptional

Grow Exceptional works with leadership teams to help get their businesses “unstuck” by implementing and teaching the widely adopted Entrepreneurial Operating System process (EOS®).