Just think of how many lies have you been told today? “He’s in a meeting.” “ That’s our best price.” “It’s guaranteed for life.” “ You have my word on it.” “That stock is sure-thing.” “This won’t hurt a bit.” “ Your call is very important to us.” How many have you told? “I got stuck in Traffic Jam.” “My email crashed.” “The boss won’t approve this price.” “I sent the check.”
Despite all rationalization, there is almost never a circumstance in which it’s better to lie. Take this test before you tell a lie:
- Does the first lie, require a second lie?
- If so, don’t tell the first one.
My role model, The Warren Buffett says – “A manager or employee who is truthful with others about his mistakes is more likely to learn from them. When a manager or employee ignores his mistakes or is always trying to blame someone or something else for his own blunders, then he will more likely lie to himself about other important things as well”.
I have found this to be especially true in matters of accounting and believes that a willingness to fuddle with one set of numbers will eventually lead to a willingness to misrepresent all the numbers. Or as Warren says, “Managers who always promise to ‘make the numbers’ will at some point be tempted to make up the numbers.”
I have an underlying theme of truthfulness in my personal and business lives that I describe as one of the key character traits to aspire to. I believe, “You don’t want to be in business with people who need a contract to be motivated to perform.” In the world of business, a manager who is as honest as the day is long is money that is already in the bank.