Everyone basically understands that a business should be run ethically, and many people even understand that this is something which has a wide range of pragmatic, as well as moral benefits.
After all, developing a reputation as being trustworthy and forthright is likely to help you prosper in your field, rather than having any kind of negative effect.
When we think of ethical behaviour in business, we often think of things such as offering fair terms, being transparent in our dealings, providing a safe and tested project, guaranteeing workers rights, and so on. What we might not immediately think about, however, is the fundamental importance of truth and honesty.
Yet there’s a very good argument to be made that truth is absolutely essential for your business. Here are a few examples of why.
The truth in your hiring practices will help rejected candidates to gain from the experience, and accepted candidates to have a sense of their responsibilities
If you turn down a candidate for a role and give them a platitude instead of any productive feedback, you steal a great opportunity for growth and improvement from them.
Likewise, when you hire a candidate, but have failed to truthfully and accurately represent the realities of the job role and environment to them, you also fail to properly set their expectations, and allow them to prepare for the challenges that may lie ahead.
By far the best policy towards the hiring process is truth. If you have to send out a job rejection email, you don’t need to make it a dissection of everything you didn’t like about the applicant, but you should at least endeavour to say something useful and true.
The truth in your branding and marketing will build integrity, differentiate you from competitors, and develop trust
Integrity is, to a large degree, the art of allowing your actions to match your words, and exposing yourself to review and judgement by the world at large.
Integrity is one of the virtues people most respect, and it’s certainly one of the virtues that will contribute most to a positive professional reputation. Do as you say, say as you do, be what you appear to be.
Being truthful in your marketing and branding, instead of giving in to the temptation to become completely hyperbolic, will not only develop integrity, but it will also build customer trust, differentiate you clearly from the competition, and force you to create or refine a quality service in order to market it appropriately.
The truth in your situational analyses will help you to effectively handle problem areas and grow
In your professional life, things will go wrong from time to time. That may not seem like the most cheerful, uplifting thing in the world, but if it makes you feel better, many of the world’s most powerful and successful business figures have dozens of failed ventures under their belts.
When things do go wrong, it’s very important that you’re capable of performing an effective situational analysis, or “autopsy”, in order to pinpoint exactly what the issues were, and identify how you can do better going forward.
When you perform those kind of analyses, you’d better be truthful. If you aren’t, you will fail to correctly diagnose the situation, and will let a valuable learning opportunity pass you by.