//What is the cost of a little white lie?

What is the cost of a little white lie?

2018-09-13T15:38:08+00:00

Quality & Me

Subir shares short stories about what people do to make a difference everywhere they go. We can make huge contributions to the way we function as a society by standing out as an example within our own community: at work, at our places of worship, among our colleagues, friends, and family. All it takes is the courage to step up and being straightforward, thoughtful, accountable, and resilient.

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Books by Subir

The Power of LEO
The Ice Cream Maker
The Power of Design for Six
The Power of Six Sigma
Organization 21c

Let’s talk about lying.

We have all lied at some point in our lives, even if it’s one of those “little white lies” you told your mother. The thing is, lying is never acceptable. Unless and until you replace lying with being straightforward, you’ll never have a caring mindset. People don’t necessarily lie because they want to harm someone. It’s usually because they want to avoid dealing with a difficult situation. It’s not always easy to be straightforward, but the more you do it, the more liberating it feels.

How can you tell when someone isn’t being straightforward? When I booked a family vacation at a five-star resort, I was assured I would get the rooms I wanted—ones with spectacular views. I even reconfirmed shortly before we arrived and was assured my rooms would be available. Except they weren’t.
We were told our rooms were not accessible due to a plumbing problem on that floor. With profuse apologies, we were given different rooms.

Something about what we had been told didn’t feel right. When someone lies to you, you can sense it. You can feel it. I had a nagging feeling that the story I had just been told was – simply put – a lie. Because I make my living solving problems, I decided to do some snooping. I asked several guests on the floor we were supposed to stay on if they had experienced any issues with the plumbing. You guessed it—no problems.

I was furious. When I confronted the manager, he tried to calm me by waiving the cost of the rooms. Clearly, he didn’t get it. It wasn’t about the money—it was about the indifferent mindset of the hotel and its employees. My assumption is that they had overbooked, or other guests staying at the hotel had extended their stay—I never did find out. And you know what? It doesn’t even matter! Had the hotel staff been straightforward with me, I would have still been annoyed, but I would have felt that they cared enough to tell me the truth and apologize for their mistake.

What happened the last time you weren’t straightforward with a client of team member?

The difference between process and people

Part of having a caring mindset is being thoughtful. And you can’t be thoughtful if you’re overextended or overcommitted. When I need to recharge my batteries, I usually go for a long walk. Sometimes by myself, sometimes with one of my kids. I always end up feeling refreshed and reenergized when I return.

Have you gotten the “Wake-up” call to be straightforward?

A director I was consulting with always expected people to come to him. This guy really believed that no news was good news. Like a lot of senior level executives, he expected people to come to him, not vice versa. The problem was, no news wasn’t good news—it was the opposite. Problems weren’t getting resolved.

How will you embrace the truth?

A friend communicated a story to me about Alan Mulally, the former CEO of Ford. When Mulally first joined the organization, he gathered his senior management team together to identify what needed to change at Ford. In a nutshell, Mulally asked his team to color code their initiatives red, yellow, or green. Red meant things were in bad shape—for example, a launch date might be missed. Yellow meant an initiative wasn’t going well, and green meant the initiative was on track.

Maruti-Suzuki and the Quality Way

Quality is defined by the customer. It happens when we are willing to listen to each other, enrich our experiences, and optimize our opportunities to improve. Quality comes when we have a mindset for honesty, integrity, resistance to compromise, and ethical behavior. What we want is for quality to be an automatic response to everyday encounters. When this mindset becomes part of the organization’s DNA – its very essence – then we can say that Quality is everyone’s business.