A Promotion of Honesty in Business
“The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty” (Zig Ziglar …. American author, salesman, and motivational speaker, 1926 – 2012)
“Promoting Honesty in business” is our second in a series of articles, focusing upon the eminent, significant, outstanding and strengthening Qualities (or virtues) that can lift and elevate us into the realms of being top-flight humane human performers. Not just in business, but in every aspect of our lives.
Firstly … What is Honesty?
I’ve pondered that question, many and numerous times. Alongside questions like – What is honesty from the inside to the outside? Or how does this quality work within us and our faculties; or What are the behavioural patterns of honesty? And such like.
Recently I delved into the Oxford English dictionary on historical principles, for Honesty. I came away very dissatisfied with the bunch of words, like a disjointed collection of words that didn’t provide me with any real at-depth meaning and significance. After that sidelong excursion, this assay aims to create some vision, perspective and perception about the real internal life of Honesty and its interaction within our lives and its potential expressive outplay. So to begin, we’ll visit some quotes from some well know geniuses …….
Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the American nation is quoted as saying “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom” …… does that quote assist us understanding Honesty’s character?
Or the greatest playwright of all time; William Shakespeare in “All’s Well That Ends Well” elevated honesty into unerring importance stating ….. “No legacy is so rich as honesty.”
Whilst American author and Nobel Prize laureate; William Faulkner extols us to “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth”.
Although these word-snapshots can help us to realize the importance of Honesty and bring us into the perception that these geniuses obviously had a lasting affair with honesty, does that assist us to understand Honesty in real-world pragmatic usefulness, for us in our day to day lives?
So, for Honesty let’s start with children. Who despite what some parents may try to instill into them (as being ‘politically correct) are genuinely inquisitive and ‘straight talking’. They can often ask simple questions like “what are we doing here?” or “why are we here?” meaning such as- “is there any reason or purpose for humans, (in that we are endowed with a magnificent range and versatility of faculties and equipment), being here on this planet?” (when stated in much more sophisticated terms), Or they may retort in public “that persons got a huge fat bum!” (When they have seen or encountered just such a phenomenon). Is that the unfettered prompters of honesty in action? And in the last example, is honesty providing a carriage for the expression of truth? Because generally young children haven’t yet been trained to be polite or with correct etiquette behavior. What they see, is what you hear when they talk. As any mildly embarrassed parent can relate (in honesty).
So, I propose that Honesty propels a person to see accurately the needs of a situation (including one’s own needs) and then to act in (and within) the Honesty to that situation – it’s to ‘see it (whatever the IT is) as it is, and then to act and do as befits that specific scenario. Equal needs = equal action!
However we are not just any old humans or homo species. We are the proud inheritors as Homo Sapiens Sapiens (the WISE ones, hopefully). So I would echo to you those words of Thomas Jefferson quoted earlier, that yes the first chapter of our life’s journey book is Honesty because we are gifted with the natural, instinctive urge of Honesty, but the Wisdom (which we are also prone to), is not guaranteed – it has to be won and extracted out from many experiences, to become better, to grow and to be always improving.
Ever wanted to make an honest response or reaction to another person, maybe even a boss, when you know (by gut instinct or intuition) that the other is lying or feeding you misinformation? The honest reaction is to confront them, but this can be ‘choked-down’ or stifled into passive or even fearful conformity? That’s the death knoll of true human Honesty, which has a provocative instancy where “he who doesn’t hesitate wins thru” both for their own integrity and for the uplift and cleansing quality of Honesty. In that case timing is everything!
When considering honesty, it often takes an engagement survey for employees to be honest and to tell their employers what they really think. The Gallup Organisation identified that over 85% of employees admitted that they are dissatisfied and unhappy in their work. So employees often feel they cannot be honest to their managers or leaders and fear negative consequences of their honesty. Many people override their self-honesty and acquiesce into working in roles where they feel trapped into working in ‘any job’ for a pay-cheque. Is that Honesty in action? Or is it being locked into a compliant constriction?
A short story that illustrates a different viewpoint is this; several days ago, I chatted with one of the local council chaps who was involved in emptying the recycling wheelie bins, into the large transport truck. I asked him if he was bored with his job. He said “Never, my job is terrific. I love my job, I get ‘TO SERVE OTHERS’. The pays not great but I’m outdoors all day and I get to meet loads of interesting people and I’m able TO SERVE”.
But what’s the point of this little story? It’s that, any person’s pre-selected career pathway doesn’t have to be ‘high-blown’, it can be simple and straight forward but it has to be an Honest reaction and response to those deep feelings that can bubble to the surface of awareness, such as ‘yes, I could do more’ or ‘I feel the need to make more of myself’ or ‘I wish that I had the courage to do that or be like that’. And not because of rampant self-serving egotistical ambition, but because in self-honesty you have the feeling of being able to be better used, and of rising up into a better world for you and for the benefit of others.
In summary thus far, HONESTY is an outward action or behaviour, that is accurately responsive, according to correct and precise need. Just like the honest reactions of children – they ‘spill the beans’, as it is, without frills or favours, in HONESTY and at the time!
As famous British singer, song-writer John Lennon said “Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones”