Home » Honesty » Honesty Works Well But Only With Practice

Two days after the board of directors issued a statement that its members had no idea of the allegations of abuse by Weinstein, TNY today quoted board member Lance Maerov admitting he had heard of multiple settlements. Even though he added he believed they were for consensual affairs and the desire to eliminate legal liability (and some believe his admission got mangled in translation, because at least two of the matters were investigated by TWC’s HR department, several major agents today said they had lost faith in the company’s mixed messaging). deadline.com, Oct 12, 2017, The Weinstein Co. Nears The Brink As Agencies Cut Off Talent Supply.

As a young kid I had a few run-ins with the police. Inevitably it was with a group of guys and we were looking for exciting things to do. When the police would show and ask what we were up to, everyone would start making things up, because we all knew that whatever we were thinking was probably unacceptable behavior. One day, actually being good, we noticed a car hidden off in the bushes of an undeveloped lot. The consensus was, after checking out the car and noting it was already hot-wired, that we should take a ride with our new found set of wheels. I intervened and suggested instead that we just report it to the police. This I argued would be excitement enough, without possibly getting into trouble. The first policeman arrived and asked if we had touched the car. Everyone said no and I said, yeah we did. The sergeant then showed up and immediately accused us of stealing the car the night before from the high school football game. Everyone started to disassemble creating various stories of how we found the car. When the sergeant stated his accusation, I said beneath my breadth bull***t. The sergeant heard my stage whisper, looked at me, and said, “OK smart guy do you have something to say?” I told him exactly what had happened, how we noticed the car, how we climbed all over it, that we were able to start it because it was hot-wired and that we had discussed taking it for a ride but had decided to call them instead. The other kids looked horrified and were probably certain we were all going to jail. The sergeant looked at me for a moment and then never mentioned the accusation again and then finished up and got the car towed.

In the military I never experienced someone outright lying. In corporate life I was shocked speechless the first time someone looked me in the eye and lied and knew that we both knew he was making things up. He apparently felt he could get away with it because he currently had a better standing with Senior Management then I had (it was not unusual for senior Management to be periodically perturbed with me as I changed things.)

See The Danger When Managing The Little Lies

Just being honest, even when it didn’t help my position, always seemed to work well, especially in the long run. I remember being called into a customer meeting on a project that was not mine because the customer didn’t believe what the account team was telling them and they knew from my projects that I would tell them the brutal truth. I also recall how someone spontaneously jumped into a conference call to refute someone’s attempted claim that something we had published was incomplete or incorrect. The individual said “oh no, these guys always publish it accurately even when it is bad news” which was said with a hint of amazement and relief and then offered that they had always found us objective and reliable, unlike most projects. There were also murmurs of agreement from around the table and that further surprised me but reinforced my often flagging energy to keep at it.

See Honesty Is Just More Efficient

Consistent honesty just works better even during those times that by being honest we are hurting our own position. However, the key is consistency. I’ve watched people try and be honest especially when things got really bad and say “this is what really happened” and they still get it wrong.  They simply didn’t have the experience at how to get and how to know that they had the brutally honest information. Their subordinates, providing them with info, also hadn’t had experience with providing the boss with honest information and they too had little experience getting something accurate as opposed to the standard practice of making up something plausible that sounded good.

When was the last time you presented a brutally honest statement when a less honest one would have made your project look better in the short term?

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