Have you ever been told something that you knew without a shadow of a doubt wasn’t true? I write this with my heart pounding and nearly shaking because I was told something that isn’t true, not the truth, not genuine, actual or real. That’s actually the definition of TRUE according to Webster (side note, do people even use the word Webster anymore or does that date me, should I have said according to Google);

TRUE : Existing in fact and not merely as a possibility, genuine, actual, real. 

I just happen to immediately after hearing this untruth, see Gary V on LinkedIn give his Dad props for the most important advice he ever received…. Your Word is your Bond.

I live by that. If you are not a person of your word, who are you and why wouldn’t you want to be? At the end of our tomorrows, we may be a bit of our hard work but ultimately, we are our character and at the root of that character is the truth that comes out of our mouth or our fingers, if we’ve typed it. Our character, our truth is passed on to our children and family and friends. It is who you are not just in your personal life but also in your work life, you can not separate the two and if you think you can, you have a problem with being true.

It just so happens that TRUE is my 2019 word of the year, because I’m working not on being more truthful but being TRULY ME and not accepting half of me because others couldn’t handle all of me.

I teach three year old’s on Sunday morning at our church and teach is a loose word, I do a lot of corralling and laughing because they are hilarious but our verse this month happens to be,

“Whoever can be trusted with very little, can also be trusted with much.” ~ Luke 16:10 .

Listen, you don’t have to be a bible believing human being to know that is a universal truth. When you are a person who is truthful and trustworthy with the basics, you are then given more to be trusted with. On the flip side of that, if you are someone who is not truthful and trustworthy in the little things, it’s going to be real tough to be trusted in the big stuff.

So what do you do when someone is not being truthful? Do you call them out? Do you ignore it? Do you passive aggressively figure out a way to point it out to them? Maybe, Maybe, and No. Sometimes it’s worth calling someone out, sometimes it’s not and hey, passive aggressive is never a solution!

In this case, for me, it’s one more of a very long line of half truths, broken promises and non-truths and has forever changed my relationship with this person. It has solidified what I already knew and there will be a day when I can communicate in love, how this person might have handled our relationship differently. Not because it will make me feel better or somehow it will change the past, but my hope is that it will change how he/she treats people in the future. Because I will be truthful in how I exit the relationship and we all owe that to ourselves, to walk away in our truth without regrets.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be a person of your word, never leave any doubt that someone would question if what you are telling them is the truth…they will already know you are a person of your word. #BeTrue #BeHonest #BeYou


The Real T&C’s

We all know what T&C’s are, the TERMS & CONDITIONS that ensure the exchange we are about to encounter is communicated and fair to both parties. Usually, these are related to a business transaction with an individual or another business.

According to the Business Dictionary, T&C’s are defined as “General and special arrangements, provisions, requirements, rules, specifications, and standards that form an integral part of an agreement or contract.”

Most often we read the T&C’s when we are engaging in a relationship for the first time and the parties are unknown to each other or a relationship lacks trust. You buy a Groupon and read the ‘fine print’ of the offer to ensure you can redeem within the specified T&C’s.

Why do we do this? Why do we feel the need to write these T&C’s as well as read them? I’m going to propose that it’s because we have used the wrong words for T&C’s and the wrong definition. What if, the real issue is not the Terms & Conditions (further referred to as the technical T&C’s) but the TRUST & COMMUNICATION (further referred to as the soft T&C’s) between two parties. When someone clearly communicates and is trustworthy would you ever be concerned with the fine print? Probably not. Let’s take the Nordstrom policy and effect. When you shop at Nordstrom, do you read the return policy? No, because they have built a reputation of trust and communication with their customers and within the industry of a ‘no questions asked’ return policy.  The trust that has been built with their consumers is deep and evokes deep loyalty. So can we then take it a step further and assume that if you want your customers to remain deeply loyal, no matter what your technical T&C’s are, your soft T&C’s need to be fair and consistent? You’ll always have the outliers that want to bend and stretch the technical T&C’s but that’s generally because they themselves are not often givers of the soft T&C’s.

Which brings me to the office. It’s one thing to talk about T&C’s with your customers but as leaders in an organization, I’d like to suggest that we too have operating technical T&C’s that often go unspoken but have huge ramifications, affecting the soft T&C’s.

Recently I sat in a leadership meeting in which the CEO reminded a group of us top leaders in the company about confidentiality among us. In my world that is a given, I trust that when we are communicating with each other, that stays between us. If I need to say to you, “This is between us.”, stating a term & condition around the conversation then we have not established trust and communication with each other. Or worse yet, in our previous communications you’ve broken that trust with me.

So then what? What does it look like in business when trust is broken and can it be repaired?  What does it look like when trust exists? I recently attended a short Stephen Covey, Speed of Trust seminar, it was mind-blowing truth about relationships and the effect of trust levels on working together. I’ll be digging into the book this month but just the brief 2 hours put practical steps to earning and growing trust among your teams. I highly recommend.

I’d like to propose to you one of the first questions that Mr. Covey asked us, “What does it look like working with someone that you really trust? How quickly and efficiently do you get things done?” By the sheer nature of the question, you are already thinking about who that person is that you trust, that you don’t have to say “this is between us” that you don’t have to frame terms and conditions around because you’ve built trust and communication. You work together efficiently, have higher levels of output and frankly, enjoy the encounters. Not only that, you have a deep sense of loyalty to that person and/or team, you have the Nordstrom effect in place.

You can also do the reverse. You know that person or team that you don’t trust, that communication is constantly framed with old-school terms and conditions, which are also called CYA’s (Cover Your Ass) in a working relationship, because you aren’t sure that things will be followed through with, done right, and there is certainly no loyalty between you. So what do you do? You don’t have a choice, you have to work with this person and/or team.

I’d like to offer four basic steps to surviving beyond terms and conditions to trust and communication. Be YOU! You can only control you. You can not make an untrustworthy person or team trustworthy. You can control you and your trust level. Be you, by being a person of your word, character, and integrity. Do what you say you are going to do. Be loyal, be Nordstrom to others around you.

  1. Speak Truth – Be gentle but honest always.
  2. Meet the deadline – Work hard, make it happen, don’t say you’re going to meet it and don’t. Do what you need to do to uphold your part of the situation and do not make excuses.
  3. Keep confidentiality – I kind of can’t believe this is even an issue but it is because otherwise “gossip” in the world wouldn’t exist. The old telephone game is no game, it’s real life and it hurts people and businesses. It decimates culture.
  4. Communicate Often – I’ve found there is no such thing as over-communicating. It always says, ‘trust me’ as I reassure you that I am aware, still working on it, haven’t forgotten, am not hiding, I am on your side and what I am offering to you is consistent clarity.

Know that you can’t change others but you can change how you interact. Be the person that nobody needs to frame technical T&C’s around because you’ve built soft and very solid T&C’s.