Do not, under any circumstances, tell a lie – of either commission or omission. Do not stretch the truth, exaggerate, or make ___ up to get out of trouble or make yourself look good…
Do not attempt to project different images depending on whom you’re with. People can spot inauthenticity… Show up as yourself consistently. Unless, of course, you are a jackass.
(Susan Scott’s “Memo to Leaders,” from her book Fierce Leadership).
Here’s the thing. In today’s world, if you don’t tell the truth, someone is going to find out. And write it on their blog. And then the world will know.
The Wall Street Journal reported on BP’s amazingly rosy reports coming from the Gulf Region, BP Magazine Discovers Bright Side to Oil Spill. Here’s an excerpt of the Wall Street Journal’s take on this aproach by BP:
in Planet BP — a BP online, in-house magazine — a “BP reporter” dispatched to Louisiana managed to paint an even rosier picture of the disaster. “There is no reason to hate BP,” one local seafood entrepreneur is quoted as saying, as the region relies on the oil industry for work.
Indeed, the April 20 spill on the Deepwater Horizon is being reinvented in Planet BP as a strike of luck.
“Much of the region’s [nonfishing boat] businesses — particularly the hotels — have been prospering because so many people have come here from BP and other oil emergency response teams,” another report says. Indeed, one tourist official in a local town makes it clear that “BP has always been a very great partner of ours here…We have always valued the business that BP sent us.”
Fortunately the articles — on which BP declined to comment — don’t go as far as praising that new treat: seasonal shrimps in (crude) oil…
Well, the blogs, and the Comedy Central shows like Stephen Colbert’s, have adopted headlines like this:
Colbert Report – Lube Job (click here to see the video).
I wish I had my full library available. There is a passage in Frederick Buechner’s book: Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale, that tells of the precise moment when a congregation looks up to the face of the preacher waiting for the beginning of the message. He writes (this is definitely a paraphrase):
“And what shall the preacher tell them? Let him tell them the truth.”
We are truly a generation starved for truth-telling, and there seems to be so little of it to go around…