I have a very difficult time telling people a lie. The truth is so much easier, not to mention a lot more productive. In training development it does no one any good to lie about someone’s ability to perform their job. The employee won’t magically be able to perform, and the company is no better off because I say the employee is trained.
So many times I have to tell people what they often don’t want to hear. I am a reality check that is often not appreciated. One of my roles as a consultant is to evaluate the training function (The Training Physical) and report back on the health of this vital function. I list out what is working well, what things could be done differently, and point out any life threatening concerns. The goal is to create action plans that keep in place their best practices, and shore up other areas and thus end up with a better running training function.
Something that I am often asked to do before I arrive for a site visit, is to overlook a particular area. I will be told that they are aware of the issues, but would greatly appreciate me “forgetting” to look at it, or better yet, “support” it as the best thing that can be done. When this happens, I will half joke that I don’t work that way, but if I did it would cost 3 times my normal rate. Last week I was knocked off my feet by someone taking me up on this absurd offer. When I said I was only joking, the deal fell completely apart because they needed to keep this issue a secret and unless I could comply it was a no go.
I once talked to my own doctor about how he handles patients that want a particular diagnosis. He said he would be sued for malpractice if he lied or misled a diagnosis, and on top of that it was unethical. Of course I asked, but do people ask you to do it anyhow? and he said all the time.
About a month ago I interviewed for a position I thought would be a perfect job, and then during the interview the body language started to sour. We had been talking about current issues and how I would handle them, and when asked if I could look the other way on things and work on the rest of my job I said that would be difficult for me. The next few topics were close to checking the same thing, and I could tell that my inability to tell people what they want to hear was shooting me in the foot. Yet I remained truthful and to date have never heard back from them. If that was the kind of environment I was going to work in, my career was going to be short anyway.
I watched an online video the other day about how to spot liars. The topic started by suggesting that everyone lies, white lies as well as bold-faced lies. It is in our nature to “massage the truth” to make others feel better. I guess this is true, because I have avoided topics to spare feelings. However, if you are going to pay me to do a job, you need to understand the truth about the situation. There might actually be a time for a spare your feelings lie, but when it comes to business I can’t yet support a reason to lie to my employer.