How leaders build and break trust was the subject of The Salon at The Relais Henley hotel’s breakfast event this week with speakers Alan Watkins and Simon Jones who have co-written a book, Lie-ability.
Alan and Simon believe that business success depends on the ability to build trust. Trusted leaders inspire followers, grow companies, revenues and futures, but they believe deceit has infected business and become widespread. People suffer because of lies and the truth always comes out. It is the biggest challenge our world faces today. The premise of Alan and Simon’s book is simple – it tracks where lies come from, why they’re told and the steps we need to take to reclaim truth and rebuild trust in a world that lies.
Simon kicked off the talk by retelling the time when he first lied as a four-year old when his Dad asked him where he got the money he had taken from a dish by his bed to buy sweets in the corner shop. Alan then went on to talk about business and political leaders lying asking how could Trump and Johnson look down the barrel without any guilt when telling lies and we’re now seeing them lie about lies! Maturity in mindset is key, Simon said, “There are people that are mature 50 year olds but they are still acting like 8 year olds.”
The world is awash with fake news, Simon said, “We have fact checking now which was never a thing.” Lying is embedded in our society Simon explained as social media encourages us to post what isn’t really real life. Being real is what the book encourages.
The book provides the 7 dark arts of deception – doubt, discard, displace, discredit, disrupt, distort and distract and how to identify them.
Simon and Alan believe there are 3 types of truth – my truth, shared truth and THE truth. Giving examples of what is THE truth on simple statements like the sun rises (which scientifically it doesn’t) Simon & Alan agree you have to agree on a shared truth to succeed.
Alan concluded by saying, “We need all leaders to stand up for the truth, rather than trading in lies. When trust completely breaks down we need an understanding of where people are coming from and then find the tendrils to connections. We need to stop the broadcast and go into reception. More CEO lost their jobs through ethical reasons and not performance last year. We won’t survive if we don’t do something. We need to wake up, grow up and show up.”
The next Salon event is on Thursday 20 April when Doug Wills Editor of Emeritus, Evening Standard and The Independent who will be discussing the challenges facing today’s journalists, particularly with the exponential growth of fake news and social media. He will also be looking at current headlines and giving his insights into the world of two of the UK’s key newspapers.
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