After 40 years as a business and consulting professional – most spent in the fraud and business ethics arena – it takes quite a bit to stun me. But it happened yesterday.
The radio interviewer asked the guest what was the most significant development in US politics in 2016. Yeah, I know. Trump v. Clinton, Electoral College v. popular vote winners. Supreme Court vacancies deadlocking progress. State initiatives on legalizing or banning substances. Laws restricting personal freedoms. And a long list of other hot button issues.
And my initial reaction was to reach up and shut off the radio. At this point I’ve simply had enough.
But the three-word answer that was the immediate response froze me in disbelief (and almost caused me to drive up on the sidewalk).
Wow! I had to listen for more.
Forgive me if I didn’t interpret the message properly or remember it with precision, but my recollection 24 hours later is that Post-Truth Politics assumes that the facts simply don’t matter any more. There’s no need to ‘spin’ or ‘slant’ the truth to make your point. Just ignore the truth and facts completely – and say whatever you want. As often and as loudly as possible.
Before your write me a nasty-gram, take a second and listen carefully. My comments here are not politically motivated one way or the other. When asked, I always state that my politics are ‘fact-based’ – a statement that more often than not leaves the questioner puzzled.
So here’s the question for all of us. Has this concept of Post-Truth Politics actually become reality? If so, what about Post-Truth Management? Or Post-Truth Parenting?
Would any of you want to be formally aligned with any anything in life that simply pushed truth to the side and said, “Let’s ignore reality, commitments, agreements, responsibility and accountability and just do and say whatever we want? Is this what we want for ourselves and our children? Or in our business lives?
It’s a simple question: yes or no?
I didn’t think so.
So it’s up to all of us to begin to bring clarity and precision to what we will tolerate in our lives. From our leaders, our organizations, and especially from ourselves.
Truth is an absolute requirement if Better! results are our goal. We must know that what we hear, read and see is based on facts. Do we want others to lie to us or not? Do we want to believe in our organizations or not? Do we want to follow or spend precious family and leisure time with those who will shamelessly lie to us, or not?
It’s all pretty simple.
So here’s my grass-roots challenge.
Let’s all try to speak nothing but the truth for one full day. Just one day.
From when we wake up in the morning until we put our heads back on the pillow at night. Every word we say – in meetings, conversations with friends or co-workers, to our partners, children and neighbors – we pledge to be true. In our emails, our phone messages, our business reports, our documents, 100% truth for one day.
Not really a challenge for most of you, I know. But possibly with raised awareness in our own actions, we’ll also raise our awareness level of what we find acceptable in the actions and words of others. And react accordingly.
Let me know how you make out. I would love to hear back from you on this one.
For a great read on this subject, try the book Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Dr. Henry Cloud