Today, our expert guest is the returning Ron Carucci, a two-time TedX speaker, bestselling author of nine books (including his most recent, To Be Honest), and a popular contributor at Harvard Business Review and Forbes. 

Ron Carucci is also the co-founder and managing partner at Navalent, working with CEOs and executives pursuing transformational change for their organizations, leaders, and industries. He has a thirty year track record helping some of the world’s most influential executives tackle challenges of strategy, organization, and leadership.

In addition to his regular contributions at Harvard Business Review and Forbes, Ron has also been featured in Fortune, CEO Magazine, Business Insider, MSNBC, Business Week, Smart Business, and Thought Leaders. We feel incredibly lucky to have him here with us today, teaching us unbelievably valuable and inspiring ways to succeed in leadership.

In the last few years, our trust in leaders has been in freefall. Whether in the corporate, nonprofit, or political space, we’re all starved for truth and honesty in the people that lead us. We’re growing increasingly dissatisfied with dishonesty – and the explanations given when that dishonesty is uncovered. How can we do better?

Ron set out to study and see if we can predict under what conditions people would tell the truth, behave fairly, and serve the greater good, and what conditions would lead to people lying, cheating, and serving their own interests. If we can predict that, we can create environments where people can be their true selves, thrive, and do their best work. And he found that we can.

There are four predictors within an organization that will accurately predict whether or not people will behave:

  • Honesty in your identity: Are you who you say you are? We all make statements about ourselves, and if those statements match our actions and remain consistent, then those around us are up to three times more likely to tell the truth and behave honestly. If there’s a mismatch, or the statements are just words but don’t seem to be reflected in reality, then you are three times more likely to have people lie, cheat, and serve their own interests first.
  • Accountability: If your accountability systems are grounded in justice and dignity, you are up to four times more likely to have people tell the truth or behave fairly. But if your workplace feels demeaning, degrading, or categorically unfair, you are four times as likely to see people lie and cheat.
  • Decision-Making: If there is transparency about the information and data that’s being presented to the company, trust that it is honest, and that all voices are welcome, then you are three and a half times as likely to see people behaving honestly. If it is more about collusion or orchestrative theater to get people to agree with a specific idea, then you are three and a half times more likely to see people lie.
  • Border Wars: If, at the seams of your organization, there is a great relationship of collaboration and healthy conflict resolution and collaboration, you are six times more likely to see people tell the truth and behave fairly. If there are unresolved border wars where people are pointing fingers, where there are unresolved conflicts, you are fragmenting the truth of the organization and are six times as likely to have people lie and cheat.

Establishing trust within an organization is paramount to its success. It starts with the leader and it goes down to the individual employees. Each of these predictors can create a halo effect which boosts the others, so start by figuring out where you stand, sit down with your mission statement, and ask yourself and your employees “How can we live this better?” When you do that, you’re on your way to creating the right culture.

The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway

“Honesty is not a character trait. Honesty is a muscle. And if you want to be good at it you have to work at it. It’s no different than going to a gym and bench pressing 500. You don’t start with that, you bench press 50 first. If you want to be known as somebody people should trust, somebody that people can rely on, if you want to be somebody people want to follow and emulate, you have to work at that every day, so build the muscle of honesty, and keep building it to keep it strong.”

Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Podcasts to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.


The Daily Helping is produced by Crate Media

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