“You can’t handle the truth.”

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A Few Good Men is an American legal drama with a famously quoted and memorable line. The scene is the court-martial of two Marines suspected of murdering a fellow marine, PFC Santiago, in the course of rigorous training. The lawyers on both sides were charged with proving the guilt or innocence of the new recruits. Tom Cruise plays Lieutenant Daniel Kafee, an inexperienced but courageous defense lawyer who eventually discovers that the system was rigged against his clients. It is revealed that their superior issued a ‘Code Red’ to severely physically test this soldier to prove he was unfit to serve due to his weaknesses, and in the course of the treatment he died.

Under cross-examination the commanding officer, Colonel Nathan R Jessup played by Jack Nicholson, is drilled with a series of questions by Kafee on how the events transpired. When asked if the Colonel ordered the Code Red, in his anger he says, “You want answers?” to which Kafee replies, “I want the truth!” and the Colonel exclaims,“You can’t handle the truth!” and goes on a long rant explaining why Santiago’s death was a matter of honor and loyalty and how killing him actually brought safety and security to those in his ranks and the ultimately the private citizenry.

There are times at MORTAR when business owners come to us ‘wanting answers.’ We sometimes ask, “Do you want the truth? Or do you want approval?” Some actually desire honest answers and will consider and even implement ideas that are outside of their own. Others unfortunately only really want feedback that agrees with their original ideas or perspectives. If we as leaders don’t say the words they want to hear, there is a laundry list of reasons why we’re wrong or not supportive, even when multiple people give the same feedback. Contrary to popular opinion, there is safety in a multitude of counselors. That’s why large corporations invest so much money in focus groups. As Sojourner Truth said, “Truth is powerful, and it prevails.”

According to Forbes.com 7 out of 10 businesses don’t make it to 10 years. There are many reasons for that phenomenon, including the lack of access to capital, and the wrong personnel. Another reason is poor concept, or  a failure to stand out. Too many entrepreneurs suffer from an unwillingness to hear the truth, even from friends, family or mentors. Life nor business should be founded on lies. Ice Cube said it well, “Truth is the ultimate power. When the truth comes around, all the lies have to run and hide.”

-Sadell Bradley, Strategic Director

Can you handle the truth behind entrepreneurship? @SadellBradley Speaks about her takeaways after working with entrepreneurs looking for real advice #wearemortar Click To Tweet

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