It’s Only a Great Story If It’s Yours

by | Oct 20, 2016 | Truth | 0 comments

I recently was searching for outside speakers for a training event at our company. After receiving some recommendations, I went looking at the presenters’ websites. One had a few videos, so I watched them to get a flavor of his style.

One video began by recounting a travel experience where he’d arrived late to the airport. Hungry and without time for a meal, he bought a package of his favorite cookies to eat at the gate. After sitting down and placing his cookies beside him, an elderly woman sat next to him and proceeded to open the package and eat a cookie. Shocked but undeterred, he pulled out a cookie and ate it. She boldly followed up by taking another cookie. This went on until all the cookies were gone and he had to board his flight, frustrated that he only got to eat half the package of his favorite cookies.

After sitting in his seat he opened his bag and found his unopened package of cookies, suddenly realizing he’d been eating from the woman’s package! What a great story, with so many potential applications.

But there’s only one problem: I’d heard the same story years before from someone else (and several others who appropriately told it in the third person).

The man plagiarized the story. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. If I’m wrong I’ll gladly take it back and ask for forgiveness.

 I’d heard the same story years before from someone else.

“And Your Point Is…?”

As a leader, why would you want to create even the slightest expectation that your word might not be truthful?

So What?

People are pretty savvy at picking up whether others are telling the truth or not. Beyond that, many (most?) of us are skeptical by nature to begin with. Trust is hard to come by, and once we’ve lost it it’s so hard to rebuild it.

As leaders, parents, friends, neighbors, … we would be well-served by being ruthlessly committed to honesty. Don’t stretch the truth, embellish, or overstate to get what you want; the truth will almost always come out in the long run. Whatever short-term win you achieve will be quickly dismissed by a loss of trust.

The Big Picture

This is about your legacy of influence. Put yourself in the position of being above reproach, where people’s only reasonable option is to believe what you say.

As a leader, why would you want to create even the slightest expectation that your word might not be truthful?

 

QUESTION: What will you do to ensure your word is authentic, and authentically yours?

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