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Is honesty always the best policy?


We live in a world of so-called ‘fake news’, misinformation and airbrushed lifestyles. In the workplace many entrepreneurs have side-hustles and live multi-hyphen lives meaning they are a Jack-of-all-trades, but in truth are a master of none.

This can put pressure on small to medium businesses to offer more to their clients than their skill sets, and capabilities allow in order to stay ahead of the competition.

Saying “I don’t know” in a response to a client’s question is seen as being a failure, meaning a general lack of skills or knowledge often gets glossed over.

However, admitting you don’t know something is not a sign of weakness but a strength; knowing when to say, “I don’t know” or “I can’t do that”.

Image source: Alpha Stock Images –

Why Transparency is Important

In the UK we expect transparency in our politicians, large international conglomerates and the media, but don’t always extend that to our own businesses.

Transparency in business culture and activities can:

  • Improve business success.
  • Build trust both internally and externally.
  • Increase accountability within the workforce.
  • Lead to more informed decision making.
  • Build a stronger team.
  • Strengthen brand perception and company reputation.

But why is this the case?

If a corporation is completely transparent, employees and clients feel more invested in them as they are able to understand their motivations, mission and more importantly their ethics.

Organisations that hide certain aspects of their corporate culture can be irreparably damaged once the information is revealed. It’s rare for organisations or indeed individuals to hide things which put them in a positive light.


Individual transparency

We live in a world where admitting you are lacking in certain skills or require help is seen as a sign of weakness and therefore many people find it difficult to be honest about these things.

This does not come from a place of dishonesty but from a place of shame.

But there is no shame in admitting that there are gaps in your skillset and your industry knowledge.

This can and should be used as a catalyst to grow as an individual and also as a business, by either acquiring these skills or outsourcing the work to someone who can do it. This then means you are still able to meet your clients’ needs.


The Truth Will Out

If an organisation or an individual is not transparent in their dealings with clients, whether they have glossed over a skill gap or have not been honest about scope creep (for more information see the blog here) on a major project for example this information will eventually be found out.

This will cause a series of challenges as:

  • The project could be affected by the misinformation.
  • Project costs can soar as corrections need to be made or errors fixed.
  • Your clients will lose trust in your organisation and the work you produce for them.
  • Your staff will lose trust and respect for the organisation if they feel they are out of the loop.
  • It will affect the reputation of reliability of your brand.
  • It could affect revenue.

In the nature of transparency and honesty it is also important to follow through on what you say you are going to do – you will be found out very quickly if you don’t, and every non or late delivery chips away a little more at the trust the client has with your company.

Honesty can be difficult if we feel that it presents a less than perfect image, but clients work with people and these relationships are built entirely on trust.


What Next?

Here at Brandon Cross we are transparent in all our dealings with staff and clients and working with us you can be assured that we will be honest in what we can do, and also what we can’t do.

Image source: Pixabay