When your employees don’t use a single version of the truth, it puts your organization at risk in a few ways. There’s one way in particular that you might not have even considered. Yet, it has a negative effect on your company on a daily basis.
The existence of multiple versions of truth actually erodes trust and leads to coworkers becoming suspicious of one another. A lack of trust and high levels of suspicion creates a toxic working environment and can ultimately cost you money.
Why do multiple versions of the truth create such big problems? We’ll illustrate with an example.
Let’s say you’re working on the annual budget. You need to know what last year’s sales numbers are, so you pull up the most recent spreadsheet and incorporate them into the budget. When you publish it, the sales department cries foul. “Those numbers aren’t correct!” the VP of Sales declares. “We’ve got the right numbers here. I don’t know where you got those figures from…”
The numbers that the VP of Sales brandishes is significantly higher than what are in your spreadsheet, and you don’t understand the discrepancy. You ask about how he reached these results. “What, you don’t trust me?” he responds angrily. Before you can defend yourself, the VP of Sales launches a tirade about how his staff record their completed sales with the utmost care and precision, and how dare you question their integrity!
After the meeting, rumors begin circulating that there’s a rift between Finance and Sales, and that salespeople had better watch their backs because Finance has a vendetta against them. The atmosphere in your office becomes incredibly unpleasant, and you hate running into anyone from the Sales department because they don’t talk to you.
What’s the big deal if people don’t get along so well with each other? It’s greater than you think.
Research has shown that people who are in toxic work environments are less productive. Either one of two things happens as a result: they get fired or they decide to leave the firm because they’re unhappy. Low productivity in general hurts the bottom line, and it costs a great deal of money to replace someone.
Moreover, when people don’t trust each other, they don’t work well together. And that also has a negative impact on your profits, because projects either aren’t completed or they’re not done correctly.
There are many business leaders who dismiss the idea of a healthy corporate culture as jargon or nonsense. Not coincidentally, they’re often at the head of companies with the unhappiest workers, and their firms’ performance is poor.
Your employees need to trust one another as well as the management. A single version of truth goes a long way to create that trust, and the results will go beyond a better corporate culture.