There are some topics that raise such passion in me that I can hardly contain a coherent thought process – my fingers literally type as my brain forms idea, giving no forethought to logical or progressive presentation.
This is one such post.
The Directors of our corporation had a mandatory meeting. Every pilot was required to attend. I hadn’t seen our board room so filled beyond capacity before. From there, they proceeded to share their plan of future vision. Most of the new processes and thought patterns introduced were welcome, and many were concepts I had helped develop and implement in previous, and larger, corporations, so it was a relief to see our direction matched my own personal and professional vision. In that, there is my full support.
It was the opening slides that caused my heart to turn, my stomach to ache, and my face to visibly grimace. We are now branded to be selling truth.
I kept my comments to myself, waiting to understand the rationale, hoping to see that I was caught up on more than semantics; that in fact, the time, effort and energy spent in private meetings on this direction would be validated, and I could offer my full commitment to this direction.
It came to my realization during that meeting that I do not believe in selling truth, though I want to.
What is truth?
I think the inherent rejection to this concept of selling truth was for me personally due to my own life experiences, my own definition of truth, and how I had always tried to apply that principle to my life.
- A scientific theory must be testable. It must be possible in principle to prove it wrong.
- Experiments are the sole judge of scientific truth.
- Scientific method: observations, hypothesis/theory, experiment (test), revision of theory.
- A “good” or useful scientific theory will make testable predictions of what should happen under new circumstances that are independent of the original problem or observation for which the theory was developed.
For example, scientific method tells us the weight of a helium atom is 4.002602 ± 0.000002 u ( I chose helium because the thought of me with a high squeaky voice amuses me). What makes this a truth is that it will never change. Helium will always have this weight.
Truth is constant. Truth is unchanging.
There are many theories in the world commonly, and inappropriately, accepted as truth. The theory of evolution, for example, is just that; a theory. It cannot be proven via scientific method, and therefore cannot be validated as a truth. As a theory, I can entertain all things, provided they are presented with a logical process, and appropriate results are derived from the hypothesis. One logical theory should not outweigh another for consideration. This is not a discussion about evolution vs. creationism or the like. It was simply meant as an example of scientific truth. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.
Religion tells us God is truth. The Amarr believe this to the point of “enlightening” the rest of the galaxy by force, in order that all may know the truth. There are millions that support this perception, and amongst them it is accepted as a truth. To me, this is subjective, as even amongst the various Amarr sects, there are divisions about the finer details regarding the truth of God. It causes conflict within, and personally I think that’s missing the point altogether. It does lend to a various astute observation, however; the perception of truth is powerful. Truth is black and white to each of us. We believe what we believe. We become passionate in the defence of our truth. We will fight for our truth.
There are no shades of gray with truth. It is either true, or it isn’t.
So how do we sell truth? To me, this mandate is unrealistic, and sets up the corporation to ultimately fail. How do we sell our perception of truth as being more valid than someone else’s, or the perception of our client? We could base our decisions, inside and out, on truth, maintaining a stance of integrity, transparency, consistency, and honesty in all we do. These qualities are all byproducts of truth. Combined they give credibility to our perception of truth.
Truth isn’t something we say. Truth is something we live.
As the conversation continued, there were others under my immediate command that voiced my very thoughts. It made me proud. Bluntly, our directors were asked “How do we sell truth?” Of course, our marketing team fielded the question.
I understand the need for sales people, for marketers and the like. I cringe every time they speak, as there is never a simple and straightforward answer. There is always an elaborate song and dance, a coaxed presentation to convince the audience that the speaker is sharing an epiphany of truth. Sadly, the more a salesperson talks, the less truthful it sounds. It begins to sound just like another marketing line, which it often is. If we can’t even sell truth to ourselves, how can we give our commitment to selling it to clients?
It was made clear that we were not selling truth. We were marketing truth. If we firmly believed in an idea we presented to a client, yet the client strongly wanted to go in another direction, we would fold. We were a business after all, and needed to make money at the end of the day.
My heart sank further.
What good is truth if it is compromised? Where is the integrity, the black and white steadfast nature of truth? How do we talk the talk if we refuse to walk the walk? Alternatively, do we put our money where our mouth is? Do we risk losing business in order to reinforce that we possess the highest integrity, and that our perception of truth is something to be respected and appreciated?
There was conversation surrounding this, but that it would be considered on a case by case basis. That is something I suppose.
Qualities of Truth
Like I said, I’m all over the place with my thoughts on this subject, but here are some more thoughts:
- truth is an idea, not a reality. Offer up what is real, not what is perception.
- truth is meaningless if it’s not consistent through thick and thin.
- truth is demonstrated, not talked about (I know, I’m repeating myself).
- truth isn’t about saying or doing the right thing. Truth is about transparency, good and bad.
- perceptions of truth don’t nurture relationship. Being real does.
- what is real is what is different than what is perceived.
- selling truth makes it just another commodity.
Keeping it Real
I think I’ve stumbled across the crux of the matter for me. Perceptions vs. Reality.
I would rather conduct myself in a way that is real, then give a false perception of truth. Preaching my perceptions of truth risks alienating others, or insulting them. I would not want to do that with clients. To say “My truth is greater than your truth” has never resulted in anything good historically.
Being real offers so many benefits. Being transparent with our successes, our failures, our struggles; to me that is of value to us internally as well as with our clients. People don’t want to be sold. People don’t want to be preached at. People simply want to be told what is real, and what are their options. They want to be part of the process. They want to be part of the relationship. They want to have complete faith in the relationship.
To me, that is the core of good business – building relationships.
In my short time with this corporation, I have demonstrated that I am real. My behaviours are consistent. My actions are consistent. My processes are consistent. My ability to handle new and surprising situations is consistent.
For me, it’s black and white. I have my perceptions of truth; what is real for me. It’s natural for me to live consistently accordingly as I have no doubts in my own beliefs, in myself.
Of course, everything I have said here is simply my own perceptions on a given situation, so really is there any actual truth to it?
It seems I may have some real decisions to make. Would selling truth compromise my own integrity? Do I believe enough in the approach to not feel dirty? Or perhaps I am just caught up on semantics; it wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe there is a lot more to it than our small presentation allowed for. The Directors did mention it was a working draft and our feedback was welcome.
Do I risk offering my feedback? Would my employment future be in jeopardy? If it was, would I want to continue with such a corporation anyway?
My head hurts, as does my heart.
What are your thoughts on truth? I look forward to your insights.