Monday, July 28, 2008

Is honesty really the best policy?

I don't think any of us deny the fact that political correctness is already a major problem in the US. Also, all of us have heard the policy of "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all." These are just two simple example of how honesty, one of the most highly valued virtues, is discouraged in today's society. I am a firm believer that being honest with one's self and to others is the only way to success in the US today, no matter how taboo it might seem at times. I try to be as honest as possible and let people know how I feel about things. Most people at school considered me to be pretty egotistical because I wouldn't hold back on getting in discussions about homework/projects and I insisted on doing things my way. I also was probably the most respected because even though I was "mean" if I was making a point, 95% of the time I was right.

Conceptually, being honest to people makes a ton of sense in both business and in personal relationships. Having success with honesty in business should not need much explaining or examples to prove my point. Most of the most powerful people in business are often considered to be "assholes" by today's standards. Think- Trump, Jack Welch (former CEO of GE), Lee Raymond (former CEO of ExxonMobil, Henry Ford). These people were/are some of the most successful business men of all times and they achieved this honor by being honest, even if it meant being "mean." Think of some of the people you actually like working with and consider to be good at their job. Are they honest and candid?

In terms of personal relationships: if you were honest with all of your friends and family, you could likely eliminate most of the problems/fights/etc. you have by being honest from the start. Telling people that they are getting on your nerves in what they do or how they act right after it occurs can save yourself from simply blowing up on them later.

A great example of honesty being successful that we all have experienced is playing video games with Apex on a competitive level. This might sound like a ass-kissing, but a lot of our success in our CS days and almost ALL of my success in WoW can be attributed to Apex's honesty in leadership. None of us can forget the Prime/term silence on nights where Pex seemed to be particularly critical of our actions during scrims. Pex would almost never sugar coat any directions or requests and always be firm in his theories. At the time, it seemed like he was just a dick and he never admitted to be wrong. Numerous nights of Apex and I sitting in the same dorm room, arguing over IRC and not saying anything verbal are almost priceless. I think by playing WoW with Apex I have come to realize he isn't wrong often when it comes to video games and taking his advice for what it is instead of thinking about how harshly he gives it can yield big results. If you make a mistake, he will be the first to let you know about it. The key is not to harp on the mistake, but instead learn from it and get better.

Don't think that Apex is the only one who is honest out of us, it was just a easy example. I feel that our group of friends are almost always honest with each other and this is the exact reason we get along so well. Notice how we often argue/discuss controversial issues and never back down from what we feel. All of us partake in these discussions and the only reason they occur is because we feel a certain way and we say what we mean. I would think all of you agree with me in this point to a certain extent. Establishing this point I ask my first question: if all of us were placed at the top of a company, could we make/keep it successful? For example, if we all owned equal shares of a retail store we all know, would it make more money than it does now? I tend to think so, but I would be interested in your opinion.

Now I come to my final point. Is honesty AT ALL TIMES the best policy? When asked the question: if you could read peoples minds, but had to hear all of their thoughts, would you? Many people would say no to this because they would fear to hear what people really thought of them. I can't say that I disagree or don't see logic in that argument. Do you think that people should be honest with each other all the time (i.e- you need to lose weight, you have coffee breath, I think your ass looks hot in that skirt shawtee BOOTS WIT DA FUR)? I find that a balance is best. If you are asked directly about something, try to be as honest as possible. Don't go out of your way to point out negative aspects of what people do or who people are unless it affects you or your work directly. Being honest will help you in whatever you do and will help you be happier with yourself. What is your theory?

Epic song:

Scroll down to "We Took Pelham." Sound familiar? IMO great song to work out to/get pumped up. Possible song for a new team Initial CS movie?


term said...

some spelling mistakes and bad grammar, i got tired of writing it and didn't proofread before the post

arod1126 said...

i think you make a good argument, and atm i can't really come up with anything against it. but if someone were to ask me "should you always be honest," instinctively i would say no. i'll have to think about it more as to why that would be my answer, but i have a feeling others agree.

also, i think some sentences may have been added without your knowledge, specifically it looks like someone edited your post with italic comments

arod1126 said...

Do I think Grand would be more successful if I ran it? Short answer is no, not with my current lack of business knowledge. I do on the other hand think I have the type of personality and capability to run the business better if I knew that Grand would be mine sometime in the future.

As for being able to read minds, I'd take that power in a heartbeat. For people that I actually cared about I'd know what they were thinking, so it would be easy to avoid doing things they didnt like. So really they wouldnt have much reason to say bad things about me in their heads. It would also work with people you didnt'd know exactly which buttons to push to make them mad.

term said...

the italics section of the blog should have had the font sized increased as well

also, my question wasn't necessarily if you could run Grand, but do you think we all could (people who read this blog) if we all were in it together. This would eliminate some of the concern you have about business knowledge

nyphon said...

Do I think Grand would be more successful if I ran it?

i'd say no. people are getting paid the big bucks for a reason...b/c it's a hard job. i can't be out of school for 2 years and expect to run a company that would affect hundreds of people's lives/families. i think to run a company you need 3 things: 1) desire 2)smarts and 3)experience. right now, i say i'd have none of those 3. no desire for furniture, no smarts on furniture (i.e. cycle periods, fashion, economy in relation to buying homes/furniture) . and no experience...i have trouble regulating 2 noobs under me now, let alone trying to run an entire company.

i think you have the right idea and mindset to succeed, but we also have to be realistic (i dont know if that was a hypothetical or not).

Staboski said...

Do I think Grand could be a better company if I ran it? Fuck yea. As long as Debs is still around I don't need to be mean the guy. I can schmooze everyone.

To the OP it is a fine line to walk. Me who tends to lean on being nice on the business side do feel that sometimes I should be more honest. That withsaid however, I feel that my "niceness" has also given me an edge. I've got people who i've called in specail favors for the company, I've had AC people on one of the stores at 10pm with fashlights fixing something. The plumbers have came to my personal house to fix a problem and charged be a discounted fee because of my business relationship I have with them. Now if someone fucks shit up, they have to be alerted. But you have to be tactful (BOBO JONES) with it.

Prime said...

If we were all in charge of Grand, and boski could fire every employee he felt wasn't up to par (my guess would be over 75% would be gone) and re-hire without any BS laws (Affirmative Action), I think the company would improve vastly.

I'll throw a different point of view out at the honestly/power topic. While I agree everything would be better if people were honest, the fact is lying and telling people what they want to hear if the quickest way to get to the top. For example, when I interviewed for my current job, I didn't say that when I worked for the city of VB all I did was watch basketball and softball games and record scores afterwards. So I basically made up what I did to make it seem important, same with Cypress. Another example is our current Assistant Recreation Director here. He is basically the dumbest and least qualified person for this spot ever, but he spends his enitre day sucking up to our Director and City manager, basicalyl lying about all of this work and connections he has made. This is pretty much a completely different scenario, but a point nonetheless. Sadly honesty can hold you back at times as well, while lying is the way to the top.

And on a more humorous note on topic, I feel I held back my honesty two nights ago during our triple OT match. So I would like to say now, term, your knife attempt in a tie match with 3 or 4 rds left was the FUCKIN DUMBEST CS MANEAUVER IN HISTORY

arod1126 said...


and prime's argument just reinforces your point term. if we all told the truth things might be better, instead we have nubs like prime lying about their experience and getting jobs they dont deserve

thats not specifically aimed at you of course prime, but thanks for the example

Prime said...

well the argument kind of goes back to the mentioning of Trump and the other CEO's. Sure they are honest now, like when criticizing people and what not, but were they honest when they were advancing up their positions? My guess would be no. Fact of the matter is that most CEO's and high ranking officials have done some sort of lying to get where they are at. Doesn't mean it's something extreme like Enron, but dishonesty nonetheless.

Let me use another example of when I have lied for what I think was the better of everyone. When our T-ball season started, I ordered the jerseys late because I basically just forgot about it. Granted the company could have finished them on time if they pushed it, but it was my fault none the less and we didn't have jerseys for the first week. When asked by the parents where the jerseys was, I simply said there was a printing error when the shirts were being processed and that we were fixing them and we would have them next week. Not one person got mad when they heard this reasoning, but I guarantee if I would have said, well i forgot to order them on time, this would not have been the case

nyphon said...

if you told the truth, then parents would have been mad = parents would have complained to your boss = your boss fires you = someone more competent takes over your job = new person orders future jerseys on time = everybody is happy = honesty is best policy

Staboski said...

Donald Trump lies to this day, you think he doesn't? I'll pull and example from a season from the apprentice which he said was a "great move." The teams were selling something, and they wanted to get bullhorns to get attention from people passing by. Well a radio shack had like 4 in this team ordered them over the phone and told them they would be there soon. The other team got the idea and then called the same store, they said they were holding them. This team then went to the radio shack, lied to the store workers, said they were the other team, and got their bullhorns...this team ended up with the win. When in the boardroom the one team complained, Trump said it was a good move.

nyphon said...

if you want a real example of where lying is good....

boy tries to play basketball. boy sucks at basketball. father tells boy he sucks. boy has no self-esteem and never plays basketball again...OR...

boy tries to play basketball. boy sucks at basketball. father tells boy he is good (which is a lie). boy is encouraged to keep playing basketball. boy gets better and starts pwning faces. boy turns into man. man's name is michael jordan.

if father would have told the truth, we would never have had best basketball player of all time.

Staboski said...

What if you are going to lie, not for you but your company??? Example, today we had a visit from the fire marshall at one of our warehouses. He said your backup fire engine pump doesn't work....did I know this, yes, did the company and owner know this yes. Did we fix it no. So what did I do in the company's best intrest, I said we were unaware. Now if I would have told the truth we would have recieved a fine, not a fine I would have had to pay, and its not a problem I would have gotten in trouble with as the owner knew about it as well. But what did I do in the best intrest of the company, said we did not know about it and we would get it taken care of. The owner of the company the other day told me regarding a quote we got to get some work done, tell the company we got a lower bid from someone else (which we did not) and see if they will come down. Its a fine line you have to walk.

Prime said...

see what happens when your honest, i share some personal insight...and the blog becomes the xep/boon blast prime blog....lying is the answer to everything

basically i think most people would lie if you could benefit yourself and not directly harm someone else. lets say for a crazy example, someones comes up to you and says, hey i think this is the winning lottery ticket you just bought, I found it on the ground by your car. You didn't buy the ticket, are you going to tell the person you didn't? I wouldnt

arod1126 said...

in the real world where there is always someone else that is going to lie, you pretty much have to yourself just to keep up. i was really just taking the question more hypothetically, where if everyone told the truth things would probably be better overall.

term said...

i'll try to address most of the points made in the comments with as little words as possible.

running Grand would be easier than you think. i honestly think that without my mom working there, the company would fall apart. i make this point because the CEO is basically a fucking idiot, yet he "runs" the company. this is a counterpoint to nate's statement that "people are getting paid the big bucks for a reason." this statement is 95% true, but there are always idiots out there who don't deserve their current job.

in terms of most of the specific examples, i would say my post was a more hypothetical "if everyone told the truth." i STILL believe a person should tell the truth as much as possible and will almost always end up benefiting you. sure there are small examples here and there, but for the most part, it will. bringing up CS is a good point, because I easily could have said "man the dude RANDOMLY turned around when i wasn't looking." i didn't, because honestly lying about it or not really wouldn't have mattered at all. i bet i'll never try it again though

you did make good points with the lottery ticket and such though. lying to advance in your job will eventually hit a point of diminshing returns. people eventually see through bullshit when you are given more responsibility. then you get fired. if you are honest, you are accountable for your mistakes, you learn from them, and you develop as an employee. if you lie and succeed, you never learn how to do things right, you eventually fuck something huge up and no one forgives you.

and to respond to the Jordan comment: i could ultimately argue that his success in basketball was worse for society than if he never made it. think of all the young kids who would have focused more in school to become productive then spend all their childhood at basketball courts (thinking they could BE LIKE MIKE) to end up not making it, then robbing you because they have no other means of income.

term said...

my thoughts on sports in modern society is going to be the topic of an upcoming post, so don't really bother with an in-depth response to that last comment