The Lakota Sioux have a saying that reads “Mitakuye Oyasin”. It means we are all related or come from the same place.  This infers that everyone deserves respect and we that we need to be truthful with each other.

Tell people the truth and you will get what you want. Exaggerate, lie, fib, or try to be something that you are not and people will see right through you and they will pass on what you are trying to sell them.

When you are wrong, admit it. Humans are tolerant and an honest man is very appreciated in our society. An example is a recall of a product problem by General Motors; when a recall announcement is made and the public learns of the defect, the consumer forgives GM for the error. What is left in the public’s mind is the image of GM trying to make things safer or better.

Unfortunately, the political spin masters and the big PR machines often head the other direction, which is ill advised in my opinion. Bill Clinton, when confronted about his indiscretions with Monica Lewinsky, repeatedly denied the claims (under oath as I recall). Later, he recanted his story and apologized. The best course of action would have been to tell the truth at the beginning and move on. Despite his lies, the nation did forgive him, more or less.

Honesty is valued highly by the customer, but the customer has learned not to trust nor believe what they are told. This particularly applies to salespeople and I believe that this distrust is warranted. Too many years of interfacing with manipulative sales reps who tell the truth only when it is expedient have soured the purchasing community.

The lesson for a business is to market your product enthusiastically, but accurately. Never take on an assignment or a commitment that you really cannot do well. This means committing to do only what is truly possible, to always tell the truth even when it means admitting a mistake or weakness, and to always follow up on your commitments.

John Bradley Jackson

The BirdDog Group

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