Why IT Projects Fail
Early warning signs to help you recognize and address problems before catastrophic failure occurs.
The American writer Austin O'Malley once said, "Those who think it permissible to tell white lies soon grow color blind." If that's true, it goes a long way toward explaining why so many companies get themselves into so many legal predicaments, from a failure to deliver on promises made in an ERP implementation, to a failure to abide by a country's visa and tax laws.
In my recent post, "Is the Ideal 'How-to' Manual for Business Leaders Divinely Inspired?," I wrote about Dave Anderson, a car-salesman-turned-leadership-guru and author who argues that the best leadership principles a business can follow are those that are found in the Bible. One of those principles is truthfulness, and he made it clear that he, like O'Malley, sees white lies as the seed of the tree of deception. When I spoke with Anderson a couple of weeks ago, I asked him if a white lie is ever excusable, like when the intent is to avoid hurting someone's feelings. He said he gets that question a lot, and insisted that a white lie is never acceptable:
My big problem with white lies is when you start to justify them in one area, then they become easier to justify in another and another. This is kind of a trick, I guess, of the enemy of Christ, in that we start to sanitize things. We start to classify sins: OK, we've got "whopper," we've got "white," we've got somewhere in between. And then pretty soon we've got the white-lie version of adultery, and the white-lie version of theft. We can dumb it down, and sanitize it, and put a nicer label on it, and rationalize it, and justify it. In a leadership position, whether it's white lies, or keeping commitments, or whatever, you're on display. Everything you do is under a magnifying glass, and everything you say has the potential to elevate or devastate; to earn respect or to lose it; to enhance your presence or to cheapen it. So there is more expected of leaders. To whom much is given, much is required, so when you're in a leadership position, you are held to a higher standard. You are under scrutiny. If you don't like that, you've got to get out of leadership, because it comes with the territory.
Anderson has come up with some tips to help business leaders create a "no lying zone" in their companies: