Trust and integrity are core values and assets in business and life. And central is building trust by stopping bulldust excuses.
Trust and integrity are essential assets in our professional and personal lives. But a reputation as a bit of a Pinocchio won’t help your goals, business and self esteem.
And not being able to discern who is being a Pinocchio’s can negatively impact us also in many ways. Risk mitigation and awareness is important for both practical reasons and mental health.
Trust is formed in part by the evidence of saying what you mean and doing what you say you will. But trust is eroded when bulldust excuses are given to others and to yourself.
🧬 We are all potential Pinocchio’s
Last year I realised I was tempted by the lure of bulldust. I started writing an email which I had put off writing for several days. For those who know me well, timely and respectful communication are core values.
But as I started the 2nd sentence I knew I was writing absolute crap. WTF!
Emailing that I had been really busy and time got away was not the real reason for my email delay. I had other reasons why I didn’t get back.
So with courage I typed the truth (albeit with fairness). Now of course the receiver may or may not have appreciated my honesty, but either way it was the foundation of any future ‘trust based’ relationship and collaborations.
🧬 Trust is the front, middle & end of relationships
We can only effectively deal with and positively navigate real situations and issues not duplicitous or fake. It takes too much energy and discourse to invest time and care into a pool of business falsity.
Don’t get me wrong – I do get that stuff happens, life changes on a dime, people do have issues at play and understanding and flexibility is really important.
We are all humans after all and crap happens to derail us. But in the majority of cases most excuses are simply crap and a cover up of taking responsibility.
We all generally know and sense when something is not true and the backlash is a lack of trust which leads to the erosion of confidence and business relationships and reputation which impacts the bottom line of careers and profits.
Your long range personal brand and business reputation will rest on the value, integrity and communications that people have witnesses. And being vulnerable and direct will enable business relationships to prosper and evolve.
🧬 Excuses heard or given
I’m sure you have heard or may have delivered some of the following excuses to friends, colleagues, staff, clients, suppliers. But how true were they really? Often when it’s not genuine, there will be multiple excuses given including:
- I’ve been so slammed and busy
- I’ve been sick and out of action
- I tried and couldn’t get through to your mobile
- I didn’t receive your email
- I sent you an email on Monday
- I am booked out solid for xyx weeks-months
- We had problems with the internet
- I have no money and cannot afford it
- My assistant should have paid that
- The job has been filled
- We couldn’t proceed with xyx
- My car broke down
- A family member was rushed to hospital
- I did not receive your message
- You don’t match the criteria
- I slept in
- I forgot, sorry
- We don’t have enough resources
- I thought he/she contacted you
Some of these can be true but mostly they are a blah, blah blah. As an ex recruiter there are not many excuses I’ve not heard.
My life experience over many decades has shown that rarely is the first excuse given the genuine one.
The old ‘cannot afford it’ is the cover for many other reasons. Gee I have used cost as an excuse many times over the decades too.
Recently I engaged a few new suppliers (and I treat suppliers as valuable as clients). They stuffed up and were tardy to cut a long story short. And I accept as humans we all make mistakes,
But the nonsensical excuses they gave was just clear bulldust with a total inability to, attempt restitution and acknowledge the time wasted and impact of the situation.
🧬 The new COVID excuse
Ok this will be controversial but it is happening pretty frequently as I hear from others widely also.
Using COVID as an excuse is a very easy way out. After all COVID is very real and the impacts huge and the disease widespread.
But I guarantee that it’s not always true every time that excuse is given for non action or response. Of course it can be but look at wider communications.
Last year I had a tradesperson booked for work and they gave 2 different reasons why they were delayed over a few weeks.
Then after a 3rd follow-up I was given they couldn’t do the job because of COVID. I found out the person just didn’t want the job because of travel and costs.
A host of other behaviours will form a mosaic around a COVID excuse or reason. Procrastination, fear and a lack of communication maturity may also factor.
🧬 How to know if someone is being a Pinocchio?
If genuine, people may do one or more of the following if it’s a genuine reason/excuse:
- Asks ‘how can I fix this now’ ‘ or ‘ what can I do now to help’
- Shows remorse with apologies & a time actions to rectify
- Acknowledges the impact of the action/situation
- Be visible and not ghost and hide away
Guilt of course is a disempowering and immobilising emotion. It renders people to the backblocks never to be seen again for their shame. And shame is a mouse wheel which is hard to get off.
Shame is certainly an overarching factor of humanity when someone knows they have made a mistake or attempted to deliver untrue excuses.
But owning up is key and most people will graciously accept another person’s realness and honesty. Or at least they respect them for it.
The commercial ramifications of the bulldust excuses I had received recently resulted in loss of $$ to those businesses and erosion of trust and reputation.
So how do we stop all this excuse nonsense to ensure we enhance our own personal brand, success and revenue? If you cannot trust someone to tell you the truth how the hell can you trust them to be a colleague, supplier, business partner or employer?
I think the answers are pretty simple:
🧬 11 Ways to Build Trust
- Realise the 1st person you are lying and hurting is yourself
- Accept you are human and do make mistakes
- Give others permission to make and admit mistakes too
- Be honest – if you don’t wish to deal with someone be truthful (but kind)
- Be direct – don’t hide behind others – be honest (respectful and legal)
- Own your mistakes, acknowledge their impact offer restitution
- Show your remorse by actions – it encourages others to do the same
- Put people before profits first and lose your ego
- Don’t turn a blind eye to others nonsense – hold them accountable
- Speak your truth with mindfulness, care and respect
- Don’t ghost people who are waiting for feedback
🧬 Integrity & self esteem muscle
Integrity and self esteem are muscles which strengthens with practice and commitment.
Whenever going to write or say what you know is a bulldust excuse, just STOP.
Re-write that email, rethink what you are saying, look inside yourself. Honesty delivered with care and human directness builds personal brands and reputations.
Honesty with care and kindness matters. And that is good long term career and business sense.
Next read tips on communication in The Art and Value of Charm