I am continually struck by how often I confront my own tendency to lie with clients. Yes, I said lie. Think you’re squeaky clean? Hmmmm … I’m not so sure. Try out our five-point checklist to gauge the depth of your own trustworthiness.
In the article that Charles H. Green and I co-authored in early 2007, we asserted that business advisors (or for that matter, people) who don’t lie are like unicorns: not inconceivable, but pretty unlikely. I am no exception. I bet the same is true for you.
Charlie and I used the term “lying” to be deliberately provocative. We borrowed a Merriam-Webster definition (“to create a false or misleading impression”) and, within that definition, defined five common ways that business advisors lie to clients. Here they are, listed from the most rare to most common:
– Saying an untruth
– Speaking truth by technicality
– Telling “harmless” fibs
– Lying by omission
– A peculiar form of lying known as exceeding expectations
I have a tendency to lie by omission – not wanting to raise difficult issues in the hope that they will just magically disappear.
And you? An honest self-assessment is part of any extraordinary consultant’s regular practice. As the old saying goes, the truth shall set you free.