The Five Most Common Lies in Business
From an article on Fast Company
Lie: “People are our most important asset.”
Truth: “People are our most worrisome and unpredictable asset. Our most important assets are really our financial assets.”
How is this true? A pile of capital – so what does it do? Really, I’d like to know about this autonomous manifestation. If true, I could retire today. While I agree, people are our most worrisome and unpredictable asset, they are no doubt the most IMPORTANT asset.
Lie: “This was a rational decision.”
Truth: “I wanted to do this.”
Well maybe you wanted to do this because it was a rational decision. Emotional or irrational decisions in business lead to disaster.
Lie: “We judge people by their performance.”
Truth: “I judge your performance based on how much I like you.”
On what else can you judge them? Paul LaFontaine mentions that we keep people we like and get rid of people we don’t. This makes sense because generally people we like do a good job and people who get along with no one generally make a mess of things. Why is that so hard to understand? Is he honestly trying to say that companies get ahead by promoting suckups over performers? No, people you really like tend to be people you respect. Respect is a clear marker for a solid performer. This one’s a no brainer, Paul.
Lie: “This is business, it isn’t personal.”
Truth: “Everything’s personal.”
Yes, everything is personal, but those that can get past it and see the sunk cost, or eliminate the factors that really have no bearing on the problem, then we can get ahead. Look, I don’t hate you, but the fact remains, I performed $100,000 of work for which I have not been paid. That makes me mad, but I’m not taking action because I’m mad. I’m taking action because I can’t write off $100,000. I’m sorry that your company is in a bind, that your several hundred employees might be in the unemployment line next week. If you don’t pay me X% by %Y, I will file suit. It sucks, so yes, go ahead and yell. Everything is personal, but the fact that you can rise above and maintain objectivity regardless of the sob story will be the difference between your employees in unemployment or his.
Lie: “The customer comes first.”
Truth: “I come first.”
This is true, of course, but HOW do I come first? By staying in business and earning a profit. How do we, in fact, stay in business: By serving our customers well enough to make a profit. So who comes first again?