Leanne Hoagland-Smith. | Provided photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 28, 2013 11:36PM
A Jewish proverb states, “A half-truth is still a whole lie.”
How many times in our small businesses do we engage in half-truths?
It happens because we may fear the consequences of telling the real truth to our customers, our employees or worse yet ourselves?
Having invested more than 30 years in corporate of which 15-plus years were in management, I heard a lot of half-truths or down right full lies from vendors and from employees. What never ceased to amaze me were these individuals believed so much in their false reality they failed to recognize I heard and in some cases saw the lie from the very first instance.
In today’s business world where the cost to acquire a new client is two to five times the cost to find one, lying is just plain foolish. The cost of new hires is also extremely high with a range of $25,000 to $50,000 or more. Honesty continues to be the best policy when it comes to promises not kept.
In spite of what people know to be true, there is still a lot of lying happening in the business world. Deloitte’s 2010 Ethics & Workplace survey suggested one third of those employed intended to see new employment when the economy improved. Half of those respondents (16 percent) did not trust their current employers.
Other surveys including the Edelman Trust Barometer continue to reveal a significant trust gap between the employees and those in leadership roles. This lack of trust does suggest the behaviors by those in leadership roles did not match what was said or promised. Not matching could be a half-truth to a whole lie.
How many times have we received phone calls from people indicating they had a schedule appointment to call or they physically walked into our offices with the same statement? Then if we speak or meet with them, we may hear something like “I said I wanted an appointment not that I had an appointment.” Their goal is just to get in front of us by any means including deception. And what is even worse there are some sales training companies that encourage telling these half-truths or little white lies.
Yes lies, half-truths, deception, call it what you will still happens within the small business world. Given how hard it is to build trust, to build loyal customers, to build engaged and loyal employees, engaging in lying behaviors boggles the mind. Lies cost small business profits in both the short and long terms.
The advice is the next time you consider not being forthcoming; remember this Jewish proverb “A half-truth is still a full lie.”
P.S. Shout Out: G&K Development of St. John and Crusader Homes of Valparaiso offer custom home design and build.