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Not-Telling-the-Truth vs. Lying

Have you noticed how the media is preoccupied with the discussion about the difference between “Not-telling-the-Truth” and “lying”? Although these two qualifications mean almost if not completely the same, they seem to make a world of difference in public opinion.

Someone who is said to have lied is a con-artist and deserves our derision. He or she is unworthy of representing us as a delegate or serving us as a business leader. However, not telling the truth is somewhat different. After all, you see, people forget the details and they’ve more on their plate than just this one case. So, its quite understandable, its human, it could happen to the best of us.

I don’t care how you spin this story because here’s the beef. A government or a business is a system; a vehicle for the pursuit of a vision for a better world or the delivery of a campaign promise. Now, lets look at an actual vehicle such as an aircraft. Why I like an aircraft for my analogy is the fact that aircraft come with a “Flight-Envelope”. Basically, this is a graphical representation of the aircraft’s performance capabilities. It shows where the aircraft starts to fly and where it stops flying; the speed and wing loading at which you may reasonably expect the wings to come off. That’s when it looses its integrity.

Who’s not familiar with the expression “Pushing the Envelope”, which is sometimes aligned with the expression: He who dares wins. When approaching the edge of the flight envelope, you have come very close to where the aircraft stops behaving like an aircraft, but that’s not the point. All that matters is your decision not to heed any warnings dissuading you from what you’re about to do; gambling with your credibility or integrity. You can calculate the odds in a percentage with a 5 digit accuracy but its still called gambling.

Unfortunately, this risk taking, taking liberties with the truth, has become more standard operating procedure than an exception to the rule. We know from experience that most systems operate best at 75% to 80% of their capabilities. So, when operating at the border of collapse becomes more rule than exception, we should have a different public dialogue. No one should be even remotely interested in a discussion whether operating at 0.00341% percent removed from theoretical collapse is well within the margins of security but operating at 0.00325% constitutes gross negligence. The parameters and properties that make up the difference of 0.0016% are totally irrelevant because you should never have decided to venture that close to destroying your credibility and integrity. It’s a demonstration of poor judgment and a lack of moral fiber!

What irks me most is that in the United States we have gone so far astray that telling the truth, really caring for clients and employees, delivering quality products and services, keeping your promises and taking responsibility for ones mistakes has become revolutionary; an example of thinking outside-the-box! Would you believe it?!

I’m reading the book “Pour your heart into it – how Starbucks built a company one cup at a time” by Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. Howard was preoccupied with quality coffee and for spreading the experience he needed quality people and he upheld the quality and values of Starbucks through thick and thin. He never set out to build a brand and when he was asked to explain how he built a brand so quickly, he realized that Starbucks had fashioned a brand in a way no business-school textbook could ever have prescribed.

Most national brands in America are heavily marketing driven; bait and switch. They attract you with a promise such as a discount and then they make you jump through the hoops of mail-in rebates in the hope that you forget to send it in. How about health care? One provider has more beautiful ads than the other, both promising great service and the care you deserve but then, at the same time, why do they employ so many high paid people to disqualify your claims? Do I need to tell you about my experience with my Ford dealership in San Diego? You probably have your own scam stories with your dealership. Now, I allow for people to make mistakes but this behavior is systematic; its their business model. There are actually people at the top that decide that this is how they want to do business. We actually expect to be fooled and we let them get away with it until they’re caught with their pants down and become front-page news, then, only then do we call it an outrage.

Hey guys and galls wake up and smell the coffee!

One Comment

  1. Posted June 27, 2011 at 08:16 | Permalink

    This is by far the most frequently read blog post that I wrote. People literally google search the title. PLEASE WRITE A COMMENT; I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU! Hans Norden

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