Liar, liar, pants on fire


Remember chanting this on the playground years ago when one of the other kids was caught fibbing?  Or having it chanted at you?  This expression, like another childhood taunt I recently wrote about, is experiencing a nostalgic revival thanks to the social web.

There’s a lot of talk about transparency lately, but I really don’t think it’s sinking in with some companies.  Today, more than ever, it’s important to walk the talk.  Your officers, employees and customers are becoming increasingly well connected every day and the new pervasive connectivity is raising the urgency of keeping your messages honest.

I got another email from one of the unofficial alumni sites the other day.  This one said that I should hurry up and check my profile because someone had just signed my guestbook! Later that day during a quiet period I took a look, and the most recent addition to my guest book was over 4 months old.  For the alumni site, it’s the old good news/bad news routine.  The good news for them is that I did visit the site and increase their traffic.  The bad news is I’m not falling for their crap again.

If you’re a large company, it’s probably not a good idea to claim the green high ground by saying you’ve eliminated business travel when you have hundreds of employees tweeting their actual travel plans.  A smaller company would do well to proactively disclose limitations before their consumers do so.  You see, transparency can be expensive when it’s sudden and unanticipated; however, if you invest in your processes and employees, transparency is not only free, it will actually pay dividends.

It should come as no surprise that your business is subject to unprecedented scrutiny.  Do not fear that, embrace it.  Understand your purpose, your differentiation and your goals and take every opportunity to teach and reinforce them.  Create an atmosphere of integrity and trust at all levels of the organisation.  If you are pure of heart and realistic in your claims, empowering your employees and customers to openly communicate will create not destroy loyalty, and loyalty is an extremely precious commodity.

Do you agree?

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  1. #1 by Stacy Patterson - May 6th, 2009 at 13:34

    I have been following your site for awhile now and this blog is one of your better ones. It just gets my hackles up when companies (and people for that matter) say one thing and yet continue to do another. Keep up the good work.

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