Focus on the foundations

We tend to focus on the small things & ignore the big things.

When building a product, we skip over the problem in our excitement to build a solution – any solution.

When building a team, we skip over the principles that we must share to keep us together on the journey.

When building a company, we skip over building a clear, long-term vision.

It stems from impatience. Everyone rushes ahead, worrying about the little things, willing things to move fast. Busying themselves because they lack the patience, to stop, to observe. They allocate time & resources in a flash, rather than approaching it as methodically as a chess grandmaster would.

Fear also plays a major part in this. It’s hard to face the big issues. The structural problems in your company. The toxic culture. The lack of leadership you have provided.

It takes some deep self-examination. It takes questioning your ego. It takes making hard decisions that are going to upset a lot of people.

It also means confronting the possibility that things might not work out. That the underlying problems have become too big.

But it’s got to be done. Those problems will rear their head at some point. And you’ll be unprepared for it. You’ll act surprised, shocked even, but you always knew they were there. You just tried to ignore them.

So be patient & build your foundations properly. Without strong foundations, it doesn’t matter how big you may get, at some point that first storm is going to head your way.

And it’s going to blow your company right over.

The Genius Myth

“Genius is only a superior power of seeing.”

– John Ruskin

 

Companies aren’t run by Steve Jobs-type visionaries.

Many people may think they are Jobs reincarnate, living up to the over-exaggerated, inaccurate myth of the lone visionary, forging ahead to create his unique, compelling vision of the world.

Most of them are kidding themselves.

The bad leaders pretend they have vision & know where they are leading you because they can’t be bothered – or are unable to – either share what that vision looks like in a clear, concise way, or they simply have no vision.

They’ll try to stifle dissent & silence the questions because they purport to know what they are doing.

The good leaders are the real geniuses, however. Not because of IQ, not because of having solved some infamous scientific problem, not because they won a nation-wide spelling bee aged 11.

They are the real geniuses because they are able to see what others are not. They are able to see where the future is heading & have a clear vision to match how they, you, your company, will adapt to that future successfully.

 

They may not be the smartest person in the room – they probably aren’t – but they are the ones able to create a clear vision, convey that vision to others & work out the main steps they need to take to get there.

Despite all the noise. The distractions. The competing voices around them. The uncertainty the future holds.

Despite all of it, they can see where they need to go.

Habits Form the Foundations of Business Success

You can bring in new leadership to radically transform a company. Pay a consultancy firm millions to point out flaws you already see. Put systems in place to change culture.

But employees are still liking to go through the motions, doing things as they have always done them. Always defaulting to their past behaviour.

Come in at 9.30. Check emails. Meeting. Lunch. Meeting. Emails. Coffee machine. Look busy. Leave.

If we are creatures of habit, then the companies we collectively creature of habit.

One that evolves independently of conscious action. One that, once set, is difficult to influence. Rather than trying to shift these leviathans, better to start with the foundations.

Change employee habits.

Request meeting times to be under 30 minutes. Ask everyone to experiment with journaling, meditating, 80/20 analysis. Get them to do it on company time so they actually bother.

Transform your employees into more conscious, pro-active & analytical beings & you are likely to find that your company quickly follows suit.

 

 

 

Hate over a misunderstanding

There are situations where conflict stems from misunderstanding. A lot of situations, in fact. In my work life, tis got to boiling point yesterday.

Having been fired rather unceremoniously by email & seeing that my employment contract had been violated on two separate occasions over the last 2 months, my assumption was that there was a deliberate attempt to screw me over.

A cloud has been hanging over me these last few days as a result. I thought these actions were malicious. It seemed there was a real concerted attempt to ‘make an example’ to the rest of the team, to make the firing as harsh (and illegal) as possible. Yet this is unfair.

The reasons were legitimate: a clear lack of motivation & low quality of work. Those I have no issue with. They are symptoms of my decision to head towards the exit a few months earlier (whilst carrying on at work a few months to plan my next move). I didn’t buy into the vision, hated our boss & became deeply unhappy with my work. This started to show through a little too visibly in my work.

A few days later, after a meeting with my boss, the contract violations were not known to him & are currently being resolved. I trust he was being honest.

But why, then, did I jump to the conclusion that the company had deliberately violated my contract upon my firing? Am I somebody that tends to mistrust others? See the worst in them? No. Therefore, what factor was at play hear for me to jump to such a harsh conclusion?

Our company culture. A culture that I had watched for 4 months become more & more toxic, largely stemming from the top. A lack of trust, a lack of empathy & conflict bubbling under the surface.

It is in this context that misunderstandings, rather than honest conversations, occur.

It is when you see other examples of malicious behaviour that you start to accept that as the rule. You start, even, to expect such behaviour.

It would be too easy to make the argument that I jumped to a conclusion out of anger or pride, but it’s simply not true. Being fired has come as a relief. My plan was always to leave this month, so I have a plan in place & a month paid leave to work on my future.

It is harder to admit that there are systemic problems within a company culture that need to be addressed immediately.

 

The lesson I take away is this: If you are a positive person & you find yourself thinking so negatively, then alarm bells should start ringing.

Where your thoughts tend to turn to the worst case scenario, where trust breaks down, where you start disliking others around you, then you are in a toxic environment.

Where misunderstandings become commonplace because you no longer expect the truth or you expect the worst in people, then you are in a toxic environment.

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”Richard P. Feynman

The only option left to you at that point is to leave. Nothing will change. Don’t waste your time. Some people waste months – even years – hoping it will.

Culture is very difficult to influence, let alone radically change, so ask yourself whether you are willing to fight the fight or whether it’s time to throw in the towel.

Stop making excuses to yourself. Stop entertaining thoughts that things might improve. That maybe people will change. That maybe things will change with that promotion or pay rise. You are fooling yourself.

Don’t be a fool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was fired without even a thank you note

Stage 1: Why?

I checked my inbox yesterday to find an email titled ‘Contract Termination’. I did a double-take. I read it, thought about it, a little bemused, read it again.

It surprised me because I thought this had been a one-way relationship of dissatisfaction so far. I thought I had managed to mask my disinterest & dislike well enough to keep doing a good enough job.

But then some decisions like this are not always ‘fair’. The problem is not the work, but my failure to submit to our autocracy. The small things, going against the culture that has been forced upon us, obviously became a problem.

The fact that it was a 9-5 for me, rather than a passion, meant I was out the door by 5.30pm. I wanted to spend as little time as possible in that toxic environment, true. But also, pressure to work long hours completely went against my belief in- & the science behind- peak productivity practices.

The fact that I didn’t participate in our monthly team events must also have been a problem. I knew this would be the case, but I refuse to acquiesce to something that does not strike at the root of the problem. We had a culture lacking empathy & genuine teamwork. A monthly fun evening out is a lazy attempt to just paste over the cracks.

The fact that I didn’t engage with our CEO. Rather than trying to get ahead, putting on a smile & charm & pretending everything was great, I refused. I wouldn’t say I looked hostile, but indifferent & disapproving would be pretty accurate descriptions.

The fact that I didn’t get behind “the vision” was clear. Despite not a single attempt to sell the vision – let alone present the vision – we were expected to throw on our company t-shirts & talk excitedly about the road ahead. Pretty hard to keep your motivation up when you can only see two inches in front of your face.

So I reasoned that it was probably fair to get rid of me. Whether I agree with the reasons or not is largely irrelevant.

 

Stage 2: Panic

“What am I gonna do about money? What do I tell my family? How do I even register as unemployed?! I don’t even speak German!”

Luckily this only lasted 5 minutes.

I had been building up to resignation for 2 months, so already had a detailed, day-by-day plan of what to do once I was finally out of work.

But irrationality, fear & panic are inevitable in these kind of situations. Once I had got the initial wave out of my system, I decided to do some fear-setting, a practice coined by Tim Ferriss for approaching problems rationally & quantifying your fears.

My fears:

“What about my CV? I only worked there for 4 months!”

Firstly, I am going into freelancing next, where all work is short-term. Therefore a perception that I seem to leave companies soon after joining is irrelevant. Secondly, I’m starting my own company in future. I don’t need a CV for that. I need a good story.

 

“What about my income?”

I have savings to cover my expenses for 6 months, my living costs are low in Berlin & I will be freelancing to generate income, which can be more lucrative than a contract role.

 

“How can I tell my friends & family I’ve been fired?”

My ego was its predictably irrational self in this case. I don’t think they would particularly care that much, first of all. I also think that training yourself to not give a shit about what others think is an essential skill to entrepreneurship & a happier life, as it tends to mean you do more of what you want to do, rather than what you think others want you to do.

 

“Maybe I’m just not that good at my work?”

The fact I found work relatively easily over the last year & a half, the fact my work was praised, even in this job, for the first few months, disproves this. I just lost interest & therefore motivation, so inevitably the quality of my work deteriorated.

 

“How do I navigate German bureaucracy?”

This one is a valid fear & one I will have to confront with all my strength (& limited German conversation skills).

 

Stage 3: A Wealth of Opportunity

This is my favourite stage. After realising my fears were largely irrational & unfounded, I decided to write down the opportunities that my firing now presented.

1) I will finally have the energy, time & focus to build up the long-term business, which has started with this blog. I’ll be able to develop the blog, a podcast, create in-depth content – maybe even a book – & eventually move towards providing online courses on entrepreneurship.

2) I will finally have the time to improve my German through an intensive language programme here in Berlin.

3) I finally have control over my time. I can experiment with productivity practices, try out new hobbies, read more & generally feel more free & happy with my life.

4) I can explore different business models over the next year & see which works. UX Design consultancy? Setting up a product development agency? Going into consultancy? Starting to specialise in organisational psychology?

5) I can escape the bleak German winter for a few months a year & work remotely again.

 

Stage 4: Selecting a plan & executing

Two days later, now that the irrational fears have faded & the giddy excitement of opportunity is slowly dissipating, it is time to put my plan into action.

On Monday, I’ll be signing myself up for an intensive German learning course until Christmas. As soon as that is sorted, I’ll execute my freelancing plan.

If you want to follow my journey, then sign up below for a weekly newsletter with my thoughts & learnings from the week.

If you want to help me on my journey, email me at henry@henrylatham.me to get access to my open-source business plans, where you can comment directly on what I am up to. Any help is appreciated!

 

 

 

Seeing things for what they are

It’s easy to be naïve; to accept what is said to you at face value, rather than probing the ulterior motives.

It makes it easier to deal with a complex world with complex people. So we trust people we probably shouldn’t trust. We are naïve even though somewhere inside of us is a voice telling us to get our guard up.

Trust is great. Society is founded upon & maintained by trust. But it’s wrong to trust when you know somebody’s true character.

When you know somebody is untrustworthy, do you naïvely think that this one seemingly kind act reveals their true character? That all the other unkind acts were exceptions & this is the rule?

Yet one act is enough sometimes. It sows the seeds of self-doubt. It stops you in your tracks. You start to think, /“Maybe they are a kind person. Maybe their actions are actions of pure generosity. Maybe I was wrong all along…”/

They know that. They know that because untrustworthy people are not as naïve. They know what the darker side of humanity looks like & imagine deception at every turn. They imagine every person is always ready to seize on opportunity, so they seize on any opportunity themselves.

So don’t turn around one day, surprised that you have been deceived.

There is an ulterior motive. There always is with some people.

“Hey guys, why is the app not working at all?! :) ;)”

You can feel it boiling under the surface, hidden in the forced smiley at the end of that Slack message. It’s been included to take the edge off, but it still cuts through you like a knife.

It’s not a winky face. No, no, no. Definitely not a winky face. It’s more an angry, nervous & uncontrollable tick. The passive aggression inevitably emerges, like steam forcing its way through an air-vent. You can feel the anger, the veiled threat. All hidden in those cute, seemingly innocuous little emojis.

Maybe it’s a coping mechanism? Maybe they believe the smiley reflects how they think the world perceives them? Maybe they genuinely believe we will be deceived into thinking they are a chilled-out, nice, friendly person too. That they are ‘down with the little people’.

 

In our company, every crash or bug identified from our CEO holds a veiled threat. It may seem like nothing. An outsider would most probably assume he’s a nice guy, even. It doesn’t seem that offensive right? A simple smiley? What damage could that ever do?

But this requires knowing the person. It requires a certain skill of translation – or intepretation, if you will.

What he says:

Hey team, just thought you should know that I can’t sign up with my email address 🙂

 

What he actually means:

Hey people-I-have-to-pay-to-do-my-bidding-that-I-would-really-prefer-not-to-deal-with, I can’t believe you didn’t pick up on this really fucking basic problem. It is yet another sign of your incompetence &, as usual, I am the one that has to step in to resolve it.

P.S. I’ve included a nice, friendly little smiley so you can’t openly say I’m not nice to everyone! It’s there to sow a seed of doubt, but you know deep down that I’m pissed off. You know that underneath that smiley lies my anger, my threat.

 

And don’t think this is over-thinking it. Interpretation is required because we are not honest with each other. And that comes from the top. People don’t say what they think, out of fear, so they default to veiling their intent behind cute little rounded smileys.

That doesn’t mean we are dishonest people. It means that the culture is dishonest.

If you build a culture where everyone feels comfortable giving honest feedback to anyone else, regardless of position, then people say what they think.

Rather than veiling what they think, they say it as it is – undisguised.

A good company praises, encourages & nurtures honest feedback. A good company realises that people need to grow so that they company may grow. It realises that only through radical honesty can you discover truth & therefore make the best decisions possible.

 

It doesn’t matter through what medium it manifests itself, passive aggression is a sign of a culture of dishonesty & lack of respect. By identifying the symptom, you’ll identify the disease.

It may seem small, but it is the tip of the iceberg.

Therefore, you must ask yourself: are you willing to put up with that?

 

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It’s f**king Friday. Fuck yeah.

There stretches ahead of me 48 hours of infinite possibilities. I will be free from my desk & the suffocating atmosphere I find myself in 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

I could drink myself into oblivion, or just have a few beers with friends. I could go to the cinema or do a bit of yoga. I could even go to the Hawaiian hula dancing class I saw advertised on a kebab shop door last night. In essence, I can do whatever the fuck I want.

I now get it. I get why, when I’d meet up with friends on a Friday evening in London after work there was always an electric atmosphere in the air. Everyone lets out a great collective breathe of relief &, for a rare few hours, excitedly takes advantage of having total control over their time.

I’ve always worked for myself & tend to love what I do, so most days are equally as great as Friday. Friday is just a bit more fun as everyone around you is in a great mood.

Yet I question how great Friday really is. People stream out of their offices straight into bars (at least in London) & tend to drink themselves to a point where they have no worries or inhibitions – until they don’t really give a fuck.

 

It’s relief. It’s not really happiness in & of itself.

It’s a celebration of something bad stopping for a little while. It’s like someone constantly hits you in the face for 5 days straight & then you go wild & celebrate – feel gratitude even – when it stops for 2 days.

So it’s not really something to celebrate. It’s escapism. It’s a brief respite from the hard reality of a job lacking purpose.

You see it as time passes throughout the evening; as Friday night slips away, the spectre of ‘real life’ emerges again to remind you that your freedom is finite.

There’s only Saturday night left in between you & that thing on Monday morning you’ve got to do.

There’s Sunday, but most people spend that in limbo, worrying about Monday & preoccupied with the week to come, so it may as well be part of Monday; maybe ‘pre-Monday’ would be apt.

So yeah. It’s Friday. I’m gonna enjoy the sense of relief that comes with that, but I’m also going to use my Saturday & Sunday to make sure I never need to finish the week with a sense of relief ever again.

I’ve got a lot to do: write 2,000-word articles, record our first podcast, set up a website & create a roadmap for the next few weeks.

With a lot of hard work, Monday’s going to be my favourite day of the week. I want to feel excited to build something, to be in a team I love, solving problems I’m passionate about.

Life should never be something you need relief from.

 

 

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Does anyone actually believe this crap?

When I walk into my office, I get the feeling that everyone is in on one big lie & no-one is telling me. There is enthusiasm, there is passion, there is a sense of a greater good. But something’s not quite right. It is, it seems, a façade.

You can’t fake authenticity. Behind the smiles, the impassioned speeches & talk of purpose the truth betrays itself. I see looks of frustration when no-one is looking & sadness behind their eyes. I see a culture of refusing to update to oneself that you may in fact have been wrong to take this job.

So we continue, busying ourselves throughout the day, refusing to admit to ourselves that what we are doing is a sham.

 

How to identify it?

Sometimes it may be easy. If you launch a shit product & the launch event feels like it’s straight out of North Korea (wailing, crying & hysteria in excess), then something is probably up.

However, the truth tends to reveal itself in what is not being done.

When you are passionate about your product, you tackle hard problems & overcome whatever obstacle is in the way to ensure the success of that product. Rather than just doing what everyone else in your field does, you will go above & beyond, pushing yourself to discover & test innovative solutions.

When you are not passionate about your product, you don’t bother trying anything hard. The job is just a pay check to you, so you do the bare minimum expected of you. Just enough that you’re still seen as component & feel your job is secure. You copy what others in your field do because you don’t care what the outcome is. Rather than thinking about how to solve a complex problem, your thinking about what you’re doing that evening, where to go for that weekend break, whether your friends found your last meme funny, etc.

Because, at the end of the day, who gives a shit where the product ends up? If it fails, you find another job. Sounds better than carrying on with this shit for another 2 years.

I’ve seen two specific examples that have confirmed this belief in recent months:

1. User testing: Our product is still in the testing phase, but no-one in the team has bothered to test it out on potential users. That’s because it takes effort. It takes talking to random people in the street or inviting users to our office for an hour. Easier to just pretend you forgot about it & carrying on with sitting on Facebook for the afternoon.
2. Cultural practices: My direct boss is very knowledgable in the field of organisational psychology, as I am myself, yet none of this knowledge has been put into practice. Where’s mention of ‘Deep Work’? Of productivity over hours in the office? Of free, open debate? It’s non-existent because he does not have passion for the product. It’s just a pay check. What’s the point of putting all that effort in to change culture when I’d readily leave at the first opportunity?

 

It’s not ‘just you’

If you find yourself thinking the same, questioning whether anyone even cares, then realise you are not alone.

If everyone seems to be drinking the company cool-aid, then they are usually not. They are usually thinking the same thing you are: ‘Does anyone actually believe this shit?’

The guy selling you the prospect of that promotion with the nice corner office? You can see the doesn’t-give-a-shit behind his eyes.

 

So just accept the fact that no-one gives a shit at your company & it’s time for change.

If that’s a scary prospect, then remember that there are 3 powerful psychological forces at play pushing us to continue down a certain path even when we know it is a bad decision:

  • There is a human tendency to irrationally invest time & resources into something just because we have already invested in it (the sunk-cost bias)
  • Our ego also prevents us from changing our decision as it is worried about our image & how others perceive us
  • Our ego over-reacts; it worries that, if we admit this decision was wrong, that we are a bad decision-maker in general

So don’t worry if you feel anxiety & stress at the thought of quitting your job & reversing your decision. It’s only natural. Just stay committed to the truth & rational decision-making.

 

Things will not change

You know what really pisses me off? The generally accepted belief that ‘people can change’.

Yes, people can change. Your wife says she’ll leave you if you don’t? Your doctor saying you’ll drink yourself to death in 2 years unless you stop? These people will probably change – or at least really try.

You know what won’t change? Your company culture.

If people don’t give a shit, they are most definitely not going to change. That is because change requires effort, hard decisions & actively engaging with the problem.

I know this from my own experience of not-giving-a-shit. I was essentially ‘told off’ last week for being sloppy with some design work. Should I have felt an urgent need for change? Yes, as it could leave me without a job if I didn’t change.

However, in order for me to change there was missing one key ingredient: the fact that not a single ounce of me gives a flying fuck what happens to this company. Not a single ounce. My cold response of ‘yeah sure’ was hardly a sign of my passionate zeal for the company.

 

So you know what? Don’t waste your time giving your team a chance. Don’t hold off the inevitable, thinking that people might change. Because they won’t. Once they’ve lost the give-a-shit, it’s all over. Make a hasty exit & close the door on the way out.

 

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Lying Creates a Toxic Work Culture

Yesterday I realised for the first time that my manager had lied to me. Coincidentally, I had just finished listening to Sam Harris’ short book on the subject, Lying, & armed with my new approach to the subject, I decided that the lie did not sit well with me. It also had far-reaching implications.

The lie was not a clear statement that could be disproven. It was an idea calculated to deceive; an idea designed to intentionally deceive me & others where honesty was expected.

We were sold ‘the mission’, which was that we would revolutionise an industry & reduce the ecological footprint of millions through our work. This is just not the case. The case is that ‘the mission’ is to pursue lucrative funding contracts. The purpose of our work is, in essence, to unlock each stage of funding.

This deception has consequences that do not permit it to be considered in isolation. The knowledge that I have been lied to makes me also think it highly likely that I have been lied to more than once.

It suddenly brought into question everything. Every decision & interaction. If somebody can lie to you once, then what else is a lie?

 

Why honesty is important

Without honesty, trust breaks down. When trust breaks down co-operation breaks down. Without co-operation, human relationships break down. Without strong human relationships & trust, society breaks down.

It seems pretty obvious, yet we rarely adhere to honesty, despite it being in our collective interest.

When was the last time you lied? Almost definitely within the last few hours. It was probably so small & imperceptible that you didn’t even notice it.

“Sorry, I’m busy this evening.”

“Sorry, I don’t have any change for you.”

“I think I’ve got a sore throat coming, so I’m going to have to cancel.”

 

In a company, the habit of lying is toxic. It starts small, but insidiously works it’s way into every aspect of our human relationships.

If you know – or even just suspect – that somebody has lied to you, then by extension everyone is capable of lying to you.

If lying is known within your company culture, then every activity becomes suspicious; that doctor’s appointment, that day off you took when you were ill, that afternoon you worked from home.

Mistrust does not tend to manifest itself overtly. It is, however, very much implicit in many practices you may find in your workplace. Some examples from my current company:

  • Refusal to allow employees to work remotely
  • Adherence to set working hours (you may have ‘flexible working hours’, as we do, but culturally this is essentially false & it is implicitly signalled by management that the expectation is to work from 9.30am-7pm)
  • A scepticism towards new initiatives from employees
  • A need to always be online on our communication channel, Slack

 

In your personal relationships, it is also toxic. If you lie to somebody successfully, Sam Harris suggests show you will then trust them less. If a friend hears you lying to somebody else, they will expect the same.

By lying you are not only bringing into question the trust of those closest to you, but in many cases you are preventing yourself & those you lie to from confronting a difficult truth.

If, for example, I say that I am busy to avoid hanging out with someone, the only moral option is to tell them why I am avoiding them. This is a difficult conversation to have. However, it may lead both of you to address whatever issue you might have had with them, rather than leaving them left in the dark & confused by your excuses.

 

But what about…

The knock-on effect of lying can be drastic, as Sam Harris convincingly argues. Therefore each small lie must be considered within a broader context. It must be understood that lying ‘just that once’ can have drastic consequences for your own personal relationships & for society as a whole.

I now see it as inexcusable in the vast majority of cases & struggle when attempting to justify such behaviour.

I don’t like this behaviour in myself & think that my excuses are almost always borne from a desire to avoid confronting a difficult conversation or a difficult reality.

I do not expect my lying to stop completely & to live a life of saintly virtue, however.

I’m just trying to be more aware of it & to justify it more consciously. Lying for most is such an ingrained habit that it is not something you can change overnight.

 

My biggest lie

Ironically, despite my changed beliefs on lying, I have consistently lied for over 2 months & still see it as justifiable in this case, on the grounds that I would likely lose my job for being honest (which says something in itself about our work culture).

I decided to quit my job 2 months ago & will be resigning in a month’s time. I think many people at the company must suspect something is up.

I am clearly not happy, I am clearly apathetic towards whatever task I am given & am trying to avoid any extra work so I don’t need to stay late.

My boss, who I would also consider a friend, pulled me over last week & asked if everything was OK.

“Oh yeah, everything is fine. I was just a bit ill last week, so not feeling myself.”

 

This was very slightly true (I had been ill for a few days), but was a poorly veiled attempt to justify 3-4 weeks of unusual behaviour. In essence, it was a lie.

Theoretically, I could have said the following:

“No, everything is not fine. I hate my job. I am depressed most of the week. I am waking up at 6am to spend 3 hours working on a new business plan so I can get out of this place. I will resign as soon as it’s financially viable.”

 

This would make sense if I thought there was something I could change at the company, but it’s too far gone. It has just become a case of making sure I am not fired before I have saved up enough & prepared my new business enough to be ready to leave.

I justify lying on the pretext that I am protecting my job &, more importantly, that I will be 100% truthful once I’ve handed in my resignation. My short-term lies, which do not sit well with me, will be absolved by my future honesty.

 

Takeaway

So next time you lie, stop yourself & think: What are the implications of this lie now? In the future? For my future relationships? For the person I am lying to? For my company culture? For myself?

I hope that, as I have found, you find it pretty hard to justify.

 

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