Business Depends on Truth

We live in an age where information spreads quickly. Unfortunately, much of it is not true. Yet, business depends on truth. To what am I referring?

This Lie Won’t Really Hurt Anyone

It is common in the business world, as in private life, for people to lie to accomplish some purpose. It could be as simple as making claims about a product being offered that at a minimum stretch credibility and at the worst are complete fabrications. Yet, a business may attempt to justify this by simply making the claim, “It won’t hurt anybody. They’ll never know anyway.” Really? How do they know nobody will be harmed in any way? How do they know the customer will never know? For that matter, if the lie is used internally to advance an agenda, how do they know it won’t hurt another employee?

The bottom line is, in both these examples they don’t know the consequences. One thing they do know, however – they have no business telling customers or employees an outright lie.

It’s for Their Own Good

People often justify a “white lie” with the idea that it is to protect the person it is told to from some perceived harm the truth will cause. Have they ever stopped to consider the consequences of someone later finding out they were lied to about something so seemingly unimportant? If you’ve been the victim of this you may have thought, “If they can’t tell the truth about something so small, what can I expect when it is a big issue?”

People expect us to be above board. It really doesn’t matter whether it is a customer, a vendor, or an employee, business depends on truth. Anything less, besides being wrong, runs the risk of creating both short and long-term damage to relationships, and since business runs on relationships it ultimately damages a business.


What I am not talking about here is that you must always tell someone everything. There are times when a piece of information may be hurtful and in reality there is no reason to share it as doing so would not be helpful to anyone.

But What about Sales

Let me clarify something. I am not referring to presenting things in their best light. For example, yes we want to make customers aware of features and benefits. In fact, it may help to make them aware of some of the short-comings of our products. But, we can do this in an honest and balanced manner that still leaves what we have to offer looking appealing. If we have to distort then perhaps what we are offering is not that desirable.

A case comes to mind where a client was negotiated with a vendor on how to get current on amounts owed. In a conference call I heard my client make several statements I knew to be incorrect, so I intervened to furnished corrected information. Quite frankly, as a participant in the discussion I believed I could not avoid this responsibility. When the phone call was over the two employees of the company said, “You have to lie! It’s the way business is done!” I beg to differ. At any rate, to this day I’m convinced they had a relatively good chance of resolving the issue by being above board and truthful. Had the vendor bought their lies I truly believe they would have been caught at it eventually. I can recall other instances similar to this and they all stand as stark reminders that business depends on truth and nothing less.

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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