Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend : Part 1 - Innovate New Albany | New Albany, Ohio

Faithful are the Wounds of a Friend : Part 1

Why we keep facing the same issues over and over.

One of the most common frustrations I hear from the entrepreneurs and business leaders I talk to and work with is that they keep struggling with the same issues over and over. No matter how much time they spend talking about them and meeting to solve their issues, the same ones just keep coming back up.

At its core, I believe the problem lies in something that many of us find nearly impossible at worst, and uncomfortable at best: Openly and honestly addressing the “elephants” in the room – the root causes of the issues. When we fail to hit the nerve when addressing issues, we find ourselves stuck talking about symptoms of deeper issues, and we rarely, if ever, solve our issues at the root. Failure to “kill it at the root” means it will keep coming back.

That leads me to the title of this blog. Some of you may recognize it as the first part of Proverbs 27:6, which says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.”

Let’s look first to the latter and put this in the context of a team. If somebody is giving undue praise, or avoiding bringing up something that is holding the team back because they don’t want to upset anybody, they are acting as an enemy to the team. Their unwillingness to get their thoughts or concerns out of their head is actually holding the team back and hurting the overall team’s health. In his or her mind, they often justify this as being “nice”,or “not wanting to upset anybody.”

Now to the statement, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” When we really care about something or someone, and we are willing to address the root causes of an issue, even if it may be difficult for someone on the team to hear, we are acting as a friend. We are actually saying that we care enough about the person and the team to accept the temporary punishment or discomfort that may come back on us for being open and honest with them.

Of course there are productive ways to do this, but to really get to a high level of team health and successful issues solving, team members must be willing to accept that sometimes there will be short-term discomfort when they are open and honest. Ultimately, it is all about doing what is best for the greater good of the team.

So think about that the next time you are preparing for a meeting. Can you create an “Issues List”? Can you get the issues out of your head and written down on a piece of paper to take into the meeting? Can you state the issue in one sentence and really hit the nerve, so you know you are at the root cause? As a team, can you create an Issues List on a flip chart or whiteboard during your meetings so that all of the issues are out of your heads and on display for everybody to see? There is great therapy in just getting them out of your head.

Confronting the root issues like this takes courage and it takes being a true friend to the team and to the greater good of the organization. Creating a strong Issues List is the first step to solving issues so that they go away forever. The second step will come in my next post. For now, just practice getting the real issues out of your head and on your Issues List.

Michael Erath, founder of SMART Direction LLC, is a life-long entrepreneur and owner of multiple businesses who now also helps other business owners and their Leadership Teams get everything they want out of their businesses by implementing the Entrepreneurial Operating System as a Certified EOS Implementer. The Entrepreneurial Operating System brings clarity, vision, focus, discipline, accountability and team health into organizations of all sizes and in all industries. For more information, visit, or call Michael at 855 2 EOS PURE / (855) 236-7787.

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