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The Right Thing

“๐€๐ซ๐ž ๐ฐ๐ž ๐๐จ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ซ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ ?” I asked…
Life has some strange turns – let me explain.
Recently I recalled an experience from some years ago, when I faced a difficult moment of truth, when my moral courage was challenged to do the right thing.
I was faced with a difficult decision of remaining quiet during a tough sales negotiation with a senior colleague, or correcting (what seemed to me) a deliberate glaring error that my colleague had made.
The error that was influencing the clients buying decision in a very positive way.
Correcting and embarrassing my colleague in front of the client was forefront of my mind – I didn’t want to do that.
So, I decided to wait for a break in our negotiations.
During the break, I pointed out the error to my senior colleague – who was not too pleased with me. I chose to hold my ground.
Some minutes later, it was determined to return to the negotiation table, share the mistake (at great cost to our deal), but secure the deal with our integrity intact.

We did “๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐’“๐’Š๐’ˆ๐’‰๐’• ๐’•๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’ˆ.”

I was reminded by a quote by Gordon B. Hinckley; “The problem with most of us is that we are afraid to stand up for what we believe, to be witnesses for what is true and right. We want to do the right thing, but we are troubled by fears. So we sit back, and the world drifts about us, and society increasingly adopts attitudes and standards of behaviour that most of us do not approve of.”
My message today is – consider your moral compass and choose to do ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ซ๐ข๐ ๐ก๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐ !
Do what is right even though it seems that you will be alone in so doing.
Your conscience will always be clear and the truth will set you free.
Facing a tough choice today? Remember to do the right thing.
#integrity

The Book of Mormon Musical

Our version is ๐ฆ๐š๐ซ๐ ๐ข๐ง๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฒ different.
This week The Book of Mormon Musical arrived in Amsterdam (again) for another (shorter) run this time.
The musical playfully pokes fun at our religion, telling a fictional story of two young missionaries who are sent to Uganda to spread the message of our faith. Itโ€™s satirical, filled with music and dancing it provides inaccurate myths and misinformation about the church, its also vulgar and filled with profanity (so Iโ€™ve been told).
The official church statement about the musical reads:
โ€œThe production may attempt to entertain audiences for an evening, but the Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture will change peopleโ€™s lives forever by bringing them closer to Christ.โ€
What I do know is this, our missionaries here in the Netherlands have been standing outside the theatre after every performance having some incredibly powerful conversations with the theatre goers.
People are friendly interested and genuinely excited to meet a โ€œrealโ€ missionary.
Unlike the depiction in the play, I personally know that our missionaries are a force for good in a world filled with commotion. The message they bring is one of peace and hope and an invitation to come unto Christ.
If youโ€™ve seen the play, then Iโ€™d suggest you may want to read the book, as I know the Book of Mormon changes lives for the better, and it can change yours too.
PM if youโ€™d like a copy, or better still, if youโ€™d like to meet with the missionaries โ€“ theyโ€™re pretty friendly (and funny) actually! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Honesty

“That’s amazing! We have never received that amount ever in one summer before.” said the cashier.
It was the summer of 1985.
I had just completed my mission for the church, and a good friend got me a job working for the local council for the summer, before continuing my education in the autumn.
The job? It was the best ever! I was a children’s bicycle attendant in the local park (the Glen, in Dunfermline.) I worked outside the whole time and had the best tan ever!
Parents and grandparents brought their children along to the park where they were able to hire a range of different bikes which were used on a complete road system that had its own traffic lights! It was popular with generations of children from the 1950’s.
Every day, lots of visitors would arrive, they’d pay me the fees for the hire of the bikes in cash and I’d issue them a ticket in return. It was a simple numbered system and if you weren’t completely honest, it was a simple system to abuse.
At the end of each day, I’d complete a little report that tallied up the number of tickets issued, count up the cash and walk up the High Street to the local council office and deposit the money.
Usually, it was the same cashier every day and over time we got to be a little chatty with one another. At the end of the season, that is when she made the memorable statement above.

What does it mean to be honest?

In my mind it is simple. It means that we do not lie, steal, or break the laws of the land and we do not deceive in any way.
What was the honest thing to do that summer in Dunfermline? It was simply to hand in every penny that I collected. And I did.
As children from an early age in our home, we had been taught to be honest. Said the writer of Proverbs โ€œTrain up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from itโ€ (Prov. 22:6).
The result of the honesty?

I was asked back again the next summer season.

How can you be completely honest?

Authenticity – the courage to be yourself

“That’s just not right…let me explain further…” I said to my fellow judges.

Sales Awards

Many years ago, on a number of occasions, after being a shortlisted awards finalist and runner-up myself, I was invited to be a judge on the National Sales Awards in the UK. The key part of the role was to attend an annual judging day, at a swanky hotel in London. There, all the shortlisted candidates would attend to be judged. Individuals and teams would be interviewed and considered one by one, by a small judging panel of sales industry experts in order to be considered for an award. Yes – I was classified as an expert – please don’t laugh!!

Interviews

I recall, one year when a sales team gave a very impressive presentation, it was outstanding. My fellow judges remarked on how fresh and striking it was. I quizzed the team intensely on their efforts, their preparations and quite unique ideas, seeking clarification on how they came up with the concept and how they’d developed it into a presentation for the day.

They shared their story.

Outcome

Yet, unbeknownst to the sales team, I had been a judge 2 years previously in the corresponding category, where a sales team from the same company, had given the exact, identical presentation. Something my fellow judges had thought was fresh and unique, was in fact a rehash of some ideas shared previously.ย  Yes the presentation was outstanding, but the responses given by the sales team to my questions left me with a rather sour taste. Something wasn’t quite right, I felt we were in a sense being deceived, being played even.ย  That’s when I then explained to my fellow judges, why I’d questioned the team so directly,ย  seeking clarification, the way I had.

After all that was said and done, the judging panel determined that the team wouldn’t make the special awards evening a few months later.ย  Why?… Simply because they lacked genuine authenticity.

It was a powerful lesson learned for all, about the nature of truth and how it sets you free.

Never dissemble.

Authenticity is everything!ย  It is the power to be yourself.

Never dissemble

A few years ago, I sat listening to Brad Agle, co-author of “The Business Ethics Field Guide” on a 2 day programme of workshops in London.ย  ย Frequently I recall the lesson of those 2 days.

In his keynote address, Brad asked the audience “what does dissemble mean?” Like many others in the room, I kind of thought I knew what it meant, but wasn’t exactly certain.ย  There were a number of suggestions from the audience, before a few definitions were givenย that went something like this:

  • to give a false or misleading appearance to; conceal the truth or real nature of:
  • to put on the appearance of; feign
  • to conceal one’s true motives, thoughts, etc., by some pretense; speak or act hypocritically

In that moment, for me then, it simply meant to conceal the truth or to deceive.ย  Brad then shared some stories to bringย further meaning to theย point he was making which was simply this….“Never dissemble”.ย ย 

So, have you ever been party toย a dissemblance?ย  Have you ever thought that misrepresenting or concealing the truth could create a better outcome?ย  Is it your natural tendency to push the limits of honesty to the very edge?

I have shared this story before, but it illustrates the point I want to make today.

A childhood story

Growing up in Scotland in the late 1960’s had its ups and downs. As a wee laddie, my mum would often have me run around to the shops to get a loaf of bread (plain – with thick ends), or some square sausage for the dinner. There weren’t any big supermarkets in those days!. I recall, one day however coming back home and eating a toffee dainty. Mum asked, “what are you eating”. I responded, “oh, its just a dainty!”. Little did I know the impact of that question.

Mum had given me a thruppence (three old pence), the exact money in those days for a loaf of bread. I came home eating a toffee dainty! How could that be?! ย No sooner had I admitted what had happened, when she promptly marched me back around to the corner shop to confess my guilt to the shop keeper, for stealing the toffee dainty! I hadn’t overtly lied per say, but indeed it was a childhood lesson on dissemblance that has stuck with me for nearly 50 years.

To quote from the “Business Ethics Field Guide”… “often people dissemble just by keeping their motives to themselves – usually to look better or protect their interests. In fact, the Dissemblance dilemma occurs whenever misrepresenting or concealing the truth could create a better outcome. p128”

Niccolo Machiavelli in “The Prince” encouraged clever lies, tricks, cunning, duplicitous, controlling and manipulative behaviourย ย in order to get things done accordingly to his will.ย  Sadly in my professional career, I have been witness to behaviour of that type, which ultimately ends in failure, disappointment and pain.ย  We often see this type of behaviour on the global stage too.

Challenges of today

So what moral and ethical dilemmas are you facing today, at home, at work or in your social circles?ย  Do you frequently dissemble?ย  Are you even aware that you are doing it?

I believe that all human beings are innately honest. In the business world of today, we have seen too many examples of personal ethics and values being overridden by professional standards. I believe the value of honesty to be one of a number of ethical pillars that we must all resolve to live by, in every aspect of our personal, family and professional lives……. every single day. It can make a change to everything and to everyone.

As a professional coach, I have found over the last few years, that those of us who work in this profession, have an uncanny knack of being able to help.

My invitation today, to you, is to stop, reflect on what is happening all around you, consider what matters most – and then choose to do the right thing. The honest and truthful thing. It will, I promise pay many dividends over the long term.ย  And incidentally, if you are looking for a good coach to help you on your journey, I’d be happy to help you along the way.