Doing A Deal – Is Your Credibility For Sale?

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Benjamin Franklin might not be pleased with the way we turn-around documents. After all, to him is attributed the quotation: “Time is money.” We all know that. Why do deals, even simple ones, take too long to complete? There are legitimate reasons and there are those that shouldn’t exist. As to those that shouldn’t exist, far too often, people lie about them and create “reasons.”

While we are dragging out old gnomes, here’s another one: “Whatever you may have misplaced, you’ll find it in the last place you look.” Translated for today’s blog posting, the last person to receive a document for review or negotiation is the one who gets blamed for: “It is taking too long.” That’s not fair!

Let the ones who are stalling or procrastinating fess up. Stop making up stories such as: “Well, my attorney called your attorney and she never called back” when that’s a blatant misstatement and, sometimes, a lie. Let’s stop telling our negotiating representatives to “cover” while looking for a better deal. That’s not fair. And, “life isn’t fair’ does not neutralize that kind of unfairness.

The truth always comes out. We shouldn’t be trading away someone else’s credibility, thinking we are saving our own. Credibility can’t be bought, only earned. And, when lost, it is impossible to be re-earned. Think of credibility as a feather pillow. Cut it open and scatter the filling. That’s like throwing out one’s credibility. Then, try as you must to gather the feathers. You may retrieve a lot of them, but never, never will you collect them all. What is more, word spreads. We’re talking reputations here. Reputations should not be for sale. Please don’t ask anyone to sell theirs.

Truth-telling is an admirable trait. In our experience, there are no secrets (or, even as to those secrets that remain so, you never know in advance which they will be). Let’s stop making up cover stories. There are tons of aphorisms dealing with the topic. Here is only a handful (copied from HERE:).

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson

“A half truth is a whole lie.” ~ Yiddish Proverb

“Every lie is two lies, the lie we tell others and the lie we tell ourselves to justify it.” –Robert Brault

“Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.” – Spencer Johnson

“Honesty is the best policy. If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.” – William Shakespeare

“Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” – James E. Faust

We don’t like to relate war stories. So we won’t. What, however, we will do is to ask that none of us ask others to lie for, or cover up for, their own delays, whether those delays are intentional, “strategic” or unintentional. Don’t ask others to sacrifice their credibility for your own business advantage.

While we are at it, we’d like to rail against other mistruths such as telling someone that the property she or he is looking at, one that has been sucking wind for six years, is now beseeched by interested buyers or prospective tenants – when that’s plain not true (and never credible). But it doesn’t feel so good to rail against things, and today’s screed about asking others to sell their own credibility is probably a little too controversial and pretty close to the boundary of what Ruminations should be writing about. Which side of that boundary? We aren’t sure.


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