It is fascinating to hear Fox news luminaries describe their thought processes as they inch towards accepting and describing the result of the US Presidential Election.
… Joe Biden will be inaugurated on January 20. To say this, constitutes living in reality. If I offered you a false reality, … I’d be lying to you.
— Laura Ingraham
At this stage, the fraud we can confirm does not seem to alter the election results. We should be honest and tell you that.
— Tucker Carson
Offering a false reality is lying? You should be honest?
From this we can draw some conclusions:-
- The pressure to bend reality, to report and inflate lies, is immense. The Trump base want the lies to be true. Carson and others have been attacked by Trump supporters who regard any diversion from the Trump fantasy narrative as a betrayal.
- Despite this, truth retains enough power to outflank institutional lying. We can only assume that the Murdoch media empire recognises that there is a line that cannot be crossed. Less accountable news outlets continue promoting unfounded conspiracy theories
- We cannot take it for granted that lies will be called out early enough to limit the damage. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.
This is not merely a Planet America phenomenon. The end of 2020 has seen iconic Australian institutions hammered by regulatory institutions for actions taken by individuals and teams behind a curtain of lies. We are not talking about fringe operations, but rather Leighton, Westpac, Crown Resorts and a unit serving in the Australian Defence Force.
In the latter case, I am reminded of the longstanding caution, that truth is the first casualty of war. This should always be factored in when considering any state-sanctioned participation in armed conflict. In a business context, the motivation to lie and cheat would more likely be in the service of maximising power and profit.
In all cases, where there are lies, the power of the collective to act in the service of the common good is diminished. One only has to reflect on the unmitigated disaster of COVID-19 in countries lead by imbeciles who truck in lies to shore up power.
When we act on behalf of a nation or an organisation, the aim should always be to act with honour, integrity and truth.
While that might sound like a patronising motherhood statement, consider this.
When truth is your standard for communication, when authenticity is your way of working, you harness power that lives deep within human beings. When truth-telling is a cultural characteristic, problems are identified early and solved. Less drama. More performance.
To explore this in your life, or in your role leading people, reflect on your appetite for discovering and leveraging the truth, even when it is complex or uncomfortable; gathering evidence, applying reason, accepting your biases and the partiality of your views and thinking style and seeking the perspectives of others.
This should not stifle your voice, but rather, give it the power and authority that comes from being as certain as you can be that your reading of the context is accurate, that your vision is the best that can be achieved and that your reasoning is sound.
Our interest is helping leaders to harness authenticity to achieve more. The practices we teach to be a more effective communicator and leader of teams are built on a bedrock of working with reality in all its uncomfortable complexity, but with well-placed optimism that you know what you are talking about and your intentions are good. The COUP Method is not merely a collection of tips and techniques. It prescribes an agenda of practical, pragmatic and honest enquiry. You can explore it in summary in this video, or take the Class at coup.college.
And even if this is not your thing, I encourage you simply consider the power of speaking truth in business and calling out the lies when they appear.
The truth will set you free, even though it will probably piss a lot of people off. Just ask Tucker Carson.