The Cost of Lying

April 20th, 2017 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Leadership 0 thoughts on “The Cost of Lying”

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Lying. Hey, it’s not so much a lie as it issssssssss….an exaggeration of the truth. What’s the harm, right? Nothing personal, right? It’s only business. Bada-bing, bada-boom.

Sometimes, being an entrepreneur means acting like you’re a bigger deal than you are to land a client. Or saying you know how to do something and then figuring it out as you go.

But there’s a difference between “not yet knowing how you’re going to deliver” and “knowing you can’t deliver”. Between “selling your vision for the company” and “lying to get a sale”.

Even altruistic business owners can find themselves tempted to bend the truth for the good of the company.

But the hard truth is, lying isn’t good for your company. Even when it seems you’ve gotten away with it, sooner or later, it’ll catch up, and someone will ultimately pay for it. Just look at the disastrous fallout from the Enron scandal or the housing market crash.

And once you start, it can be hard to stop.

Lying is a Vicious Cycle

The first lies told are usually very small and harmless. You stretch the truth or without even thinking, a false answer comes out in a moment of fear and insecurity. But over time, lies escalate.

Studies have shown that with each lie you tell, your brain becomes desensitized to the action. This is especially true when it comes to lies that directly benefit you.

You think a lie will give you more control over a situation, but you’re actually losing a piece of control with every lie you tell. The part of your brain that questions and analyzes your actions grows numb, and you can quickly become lost in the lies.

This not only makes it easier to lie to others but to yourself as well. When entrepreneurs start lying to themselves, they lose their ability to properly manage their business.

How to Stop Lying

The best way to stop lying is to tell the truth. It’s really that simple. If you’ve already started down the road of dishonesty, you may need to go and confess to some people. Even if it could cause harm to your business or relationship.

You’ll be surprised by how many people and businesses will actually respect radical honesty, even when the truth isn’t pretty.

Any success you’ve built upon lies isn’t real in the first place. Business owners usually have good intentions for their company when they lie. They want to help their business. That’s why they do it.

But lies shouldn’t have any place in your business plans. They simply delay, and often escalate, confrontation and consequences. Just ask Bernie Madoff (Madoff with your money).

So don’t do it.

Should you find that you have habitual liars on your team, it’s best to get rid of them – even if it’s difficult to do. They are damaging your business and undermining your goals, and that should be the last thing any business owner wants.

I ain’t lying to you

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