Why telling the truth and doing your best will always win out.

This year I talked at our yearly staff escape, as I always do, about our company ethos. I’m a bit of a bore on the subject to be honest, but I really believe in the power of our own brand and what we stand for. 

It boiled down to two little things I wanted to embed with the team, for them to reference any time they were in doubt. Two little things taught to me by my parents and the two little things I’m working hard to pass onto my kids.

Tell the truth and do your best.

Every hard-working parents mantra. Drilled into our collective cortex from a very young age. So simple and compelling, but ultimately difficult to live by and so easily ignored. In our house my kids glaze over as once again dad goes into the “Do good things and good things will happen. Do bad things and bad things will happen” sermon. I can, in fairness, see their point!

That said, we all recognise the fundamental importance of honesty in society. We all know to varying degrees that there’s no escape from dishonesty or bad behaviour, it always, but always, catches up with you in the end. Be honest and do your best, we’ll all be the better for it.

And that’s just life. Bolt on the added scrutiny of today’s intrusive communication platforms and the truth will be out in minutes rather than a lifetime. There’s literally nowhere to hide anymore, either from yourself or the probing, judgemental glare of everyone else.

Good is built on these basic principles. We leave great to the judgement of future generations. Right now, as always, simply being good is hard enough. 

If you need proof, and I hope you don’t, let’s mention a few names. FIFA. Enron. News of the World and VW, to name a few. If only they’d been honest and done their best. Simple, but simply too much to expect apparently.

And the bigger the misdemeanour, the bigger the price to be paid. In VW’s case, it’s a big lie that affects mankind and the planet, so the price is going to be very high indeed. Tens of billions wiped off their share value. Customer confidence and brand loyalty shot. A lifetime of brand building rendered close to worthless. And that’s just for starters.

Tell the truth and do your best.

Easy to say but difficult to live by. The good news is, the truth will come out no matter what so we’re all going to have to start living by these basic values. People. Businesses. Governments, Brands and Bankers alike, and we’re all going to be the better for it.

Here endeth the lesson.