“It makes all the difference in the world whether we put truth in the first place, or in the second place.” John Morley
Have you ever been part of a decision making process, meeting, consultation, or planning session where someone has made a proposal which you found to be dishonest, disingenuous, manipulative of the facts, and in any sense designed to promote, perpetuate, initiate or act on the basis of a lie?
(Newspaper editors, politicians and lawyers know they have.)
And when you were part of that process (etc.), what did you do? Did you seethe and say nothing at all? Did you raise your objection but accept the final consensus, albeit reluctantly? Or did you act on your objection and remove yourself from the situation entirely?
I guess that for all of us, there are criteria which we apply to such events, which are essentially values-based. And it is our values that dictate our ‘next step’ when these things occur.
For example, what is the ultimate objective? Is it to retain the respect of the individual in charge because we acknowledge the difficulties they themselves face? Is it to play a long game so that we can address the situation better, when the sugar hits the fan and someone needs to have been ready to remedy the situation? Is it to stay in the loop to ensure that mistakes are accurately reported and the blame firmly laid where it should be? Is it to keep your job, which has wider responsibilities and opportunities than this one decision affects? Is it to proactively accept the decision because we acknowledge that we may not have the level of competence required to better understand what is needed?
The decision is always yours, to act in keeping with your values, and more importantly, with your own interpretation of your values.
In my book, The Three Resolutions, I promote Charles Hobbs’ method for identifying and defining our personal values. I use this method because when you say ‘Integrity’, you may mean something different to when I say ‘Integrity’. When you say ‘Adventure’, your idea of leaving your comfort zone may be vastly different to my own.
Which means that when that questionable decision making process is finalised, how you respond may not be how I would respond – but that doesn’t necessarily make you wrong. What DOES make you wrong is when you then follow a party lone despite KNOWING it to be dishonest; when you defend someone you KNOW is guilty; when you edit a report to justify your OWN agenda rather than chronicle the whole truth; in essence, what makes you wrong is when YOU negligently (bad), recklessly (very bad) or deliberately (very, very bad) fail to comply with what YOU know in YOUR heart is the right thing to do.
And the kicker is that when you do that, not only does the situation tend to deteriorate – but you do, too.
Stand up for your beliefs. No-one else can be relied upon to do it for you.
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