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[00:00:05]

Are you honest? Let me ask the question a different way. Have you ever told a lie? You can see the problem.

[00:00:13]

We've all told little white lies. Some of us have even told more than that. This, unfortunately, is more pervasive than we think. It's called ethical fading. And it's something that Dr. Lenny Wong has spent many years studying. He spent 20 years in the military studying why good cultures turned bad. And I actually learned about ethical fading from him in a world in which everybody's trying to get ahead. And sometimes we do so by doing things that are ethically questionable.

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The question is, what can we do about it?

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This is a bit of optimism. Lenny, so good to see you.

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Good to see you, Simon.

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You and I met a bunch of years ago.

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I heard you speak at a conference and you were the one who introduced me to this concept of ethical fading, which I ended up writing about in The Infinite Game.

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Correct.

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This concept I find so fascinating. And unfortunately, the reason I think it's fascinating is it's pervasive in our society today.

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Correct me if I get this wrong, but ethical fading is the phenomenon where a large group of people, a culture of an organization, make unethical decisions, believing that they are well within their own ethical framework. They don't believe they've done anything wrong. And yet, from an outsider in, it is so obvious that something has gone haywire. For example, a pharmaceutical company that owns the patent to an essential drug and will raise the price 500 percent, 600 percent, 800 percent, 1000 percent, though not illegal, highly unethical.

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And the people inside that organization will shrug their shoulders and say there's nothing wrong with it.

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Right, it's temporarily suspending any notion of right or wrong, and it's very closely related to moral disengagement. So the ethical fading came from a professor of psychology and Tenbrunsel. It's basically setting aside the ethical dilemma because you just say, well, there's no ethics involved in this. This is just a decision. It's a business decision. It's a cost benefit analysis or whatever.

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But there are no ethics involved in this. And so we could just move on and make the decision.

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And Tenbrunsel calls it a form of of self-deception, which I find very interesting as well.

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Not only is that you said it's it's amazing that it's so pervasive to me. It's amazing that we don't even know it, that it's so pervasive, but we refuse to look it in the face because, I think it collapses so much of what humans do and we rationalize away and it's an ugly thing to look at, to admit that, no, you just told a lie and you just don't want to admit it.

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Right.

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Some of the things that go into that self-deception we've all done. Let's be honest. We've all done it.

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Right. It's so pervasive.

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So, for example, everyone's doing it. I had no choice. That's what my boss wanted me to do. And this is my favorite one. It's the system.

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Right.

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So in an organization where all of the pressures upon someone is to do things that are in self-interest of the organization, so they want you to hit a number at an arbitrary date, all the incentives pressure them to hit that number.

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So both incentives and disincentives, massive amounts of them are thrust upon a person because a few people at the top have thought that this number is more important than anything else. And at the rank and file, what ends up happening is they do anything to appease their boss, fit the incentive program to avoid getting in trouble or worse. One person does something highly unethical, like at Wells Fargo Bank, where thousands of people open millions of fake bank accounts and other things.

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It started, I assume, because one or two people tried it and somebody went, good job and everybody else did it.

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Right, right.

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And in those cases, it's the system. And really what we're expecting that person, 14 levels below is not for them to tell the truth in the first place because we want them to lie to us.

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Do you equate ethical fading and lying as synonymous?

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For me. It's the easiest example. But I think ethical fading really is the ability to develop hypocrisy in our own minds and live with it. How do we live with ourselves? And the answer is ethically fading. I've been in the Army uniform for 20 years now as a civilian for 20 years. And so in the Army, you view yourself as a moral upright cut above and to hear ourselves admit to lying.

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That really goes against who we think we are. Ethical fading allows us to live with who we really are and who we think we are. And this goes way back to what Jesus accused the Pharisees of doing, because, like, you guys are hypocrites, because you're telling everyone to do this. And when you really look at it, you're not doing it yourselves. And so it's very human, but it's very ugly. And that's why I say, especially in my organization, the military, we don't like to look at it because it really attacks who we say and think we are.

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And perhaps the greatest form of honesty is to look at oneself and say, I was dishonest.

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Correct, but look at all the creeds and codes that we have that say you will never lie, cheat or steal. Your word is sacred. And it is. But we're also human. How do you have an inspirational, aspirational organization and yet you fill it with humans? That's what's really hard. So we can do a tell everyone you're really not as good as you think you are, or we could say you're the best, but let's ignore all this humanness that creeps out every once in a while.

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Yeah. How did your interest in this show up?

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So I did a study back in the early two thousands with a friend named Steve Gerras, and it's called Lying to Ourselves, where we address this going on in the army and saying we have a problem. I looked at all the requirements we placed on junior officers, and what we discovered was junior officers have about two hundred fifty six available training days. And when you add up every single requirement that we put on them, it equates to about two hundred ninety seven training days.

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And so it's physically impossible to accomplish everything that the Army tells them to do in the amount of time we give them to do it. How can we ever develop innovative officers when all they do is run around doing what we tell them to do? But what always bothered me when I wrote that study is if they can't literally do it in the time period we give them, what are they reporting? And so that haunted me for about a decade. And so I was sitting in my co-authors office, Steve Gerras, and I said, Steve, I got a research project I'd like to work on.

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He says "what?" I said. I think even though we don't think we're lying, we're lying to ourselves, said, I don't know what you're talking about. I am an honest person. You ask my wife one thing, she knows I will never lie to her and he's typing on his computer. I said, I think there's something there. Are you listening to me? He says, yeah I am listening. He keeps typing away, what are you doing?

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And he says, I'm filling in all the mandatory training, were supposed to do saying I did it.

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And he was computer filling it all out. And I said, that's exactly what I'm talking about. How could you sit there and do that? And yet we tell ourselves we're honest people. At the Army War College, we have a lesson on ethics and ethical fading. We always talk about it. But finally, we were confronting it up in our face that this happens. So this got reinforced. I was talking to a civilian friend of mine and he's talking about his wife had to move up in the organization because they had fired somebody.

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And I said, what did they fire him for? He said, well, the person was falsifying training rosters. They were saying people were attending training who never did. And it made me realize we have really developed a culture where ethical feeding is pervasive, it's allowed, it's not talked about, and it's impacting all aspects of our life. So that's how we got started on this.

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So the fun example that I talk about where I suffered ethical fading was I had a job where out of the blue the company announced that we had to start filling out timesheets. Now, I worked 100 percent on one account. What do you need to know?

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I know. Yeah.

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You know, so we had to hand them in weekly.

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I never handed my time sheets on time because I'm just terrible at that kind of stuff. And so I would get in trouble. So I would sit down for the entire week on Friday morning and I would fill out my time sheets right in at 9:00 out at 5:00 now. I often showed up at whatever time and I always left later, but who cares? So in nine out, five in nine out, five in, nine out, five done.

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And I think maybe I was two weeks or three weeks behind because, you know, I'm late. So I'm filling out two or three weeks worth of time sheets here and out, in and out exactly the same time. Every single day I go to my boss because somebody has to sign off on my time sheets.

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And he looks at them and he says, boy, you're a very consistent worker, aren't you? Basically pointing out to me that he knows I fudged my sheets and then he signs them.

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Right.

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And we go about our day.

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And that's what I look at the organizations. Organizations create these systems that everyone looks at and says that system isn't real. So we create in our mind an imaginary line that says that's the fake world, that's the world we lie to, because someone came up with that system, that process that they really don't want truth. They just want you to fill it out so all columns are lined up. That's where organizations fall and encourage ethical fading.

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We're not really looking for the truth. What we really want knows. Simon, did you put in an honest work week? Yeah, I did. OK, here, fill out these time sheets and lie to me.

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Right, just reinforce the narrative that we all want to believe. Language is a big deal here as well. It's the overuse of euphemisms like in the United States. Torture violates our values. We would never, ever torture. But enhanced interrogation is extremely helpful.

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Right.

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Or in the business world or in our personal world, we would never spy on our customers. But data mining. So helpful. So valuable.

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Right.

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Or even referring to human beings as data points.

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Right.

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And the overuse of this language where we literally dehumanize people so we can distance ourselves from the impact we may have on their lives or we create euphemisms so we can again create distance from the impact of our decisions because it just makes it easier.

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Right. Because we don't like the harsh reality of to say, well, I lied. So instead, we heard things like just telling them what they want to hear while you're lying. Or the best one I heard is that's not lying. That's good leadership. I had my boss when I was starting to do this study, came in and said, so what's the study you're working on? I told him and he says, I don't know what you're talking about.

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I just don't see any evidence of that. And so I said, well, wait a minute, according to the regulations, I'm supposed to get quarterly counseling from you on how I'm doing. We've never done that. And yet every annual counseling, there's all these different dates with your initials by it on how we met and talked. I said we never met and talked. What do you call that? And he says, that's not lying. That's protecting my boss.

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And so we don't like to hear those words lying or I didn't tell the truth. And even when we came to write up the study, it was hard to write down. That we lie, so we were even looking for different ways of saying lying because it's such a harsh, in-your-face word that makes us confront the evilness that we all know.

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So here's the uncomfortable question. Is it ever OK to lie?

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I think the answer is, is no. Then you have to ask the secondary question. Are you ever boxed in where you have to lie? Not that it's OK. I think that's what we have to transmit, is that we're human. And so it's not like the organization is trying to teach these people to be perfect because we can't expect you to be perfect because you're human. So we understand that, yes, there will be times that you will lie, but we want you to know you should never have to lie.

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I'm uncomfortable with this idea of the box because who sets the edges?

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Exactly right.

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And that's the problem. So there was a study done about child development and they did these wonderfully innovative experiments to show the development of a child's mind, of which one of them was learning to lie because little kids don't lie.

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Right.

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They tell you everything to a fault.

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And the point that was made in the study was that lying is an important social convention. And the experiment that they set up was a mother and her friend who are both in on the experiment, meet for lunch and the mother brings her little kid. And the friend gives the mother a gift. And the mother says, thank you. I love it, and the kid immediately says, no, you don't. You hate it. And the mother says, No, I love it.

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And the kids says, no, you have one just like this at home. And you always talk about how much you hate it. And the kid hadn't learned, yet, this social convention that we have to tell what is a lie in order to not hurt someone's feelings.

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Right, right. But I think the ideal in that is to tell the child it's never good to lie.

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But, Mom, you just lied.

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I know. And I wish I didn't have to lie.

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So I call B.S..

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All right. End the conversation, what else what else do I talk about, Simon?

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Listen, I'll tell you why.

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Because what you said, I wish I didn't have to, but I do.

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That's exactly it.

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But that's the problem, Lenny, which is if we could all get away with saying, I wish I didn't have to, but I do, it at least makes us aware of the lie. But then we go right back to where we started, which is I have to to get ahead. I got to put food on the table. That's what my boss wants me to do.

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Everybody's doing it. I'm going to get in trouble.

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Right. It's the first inch of that slippery slope that you start sliding down.

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Wait, wait.

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What if we find new ways to tell the truth? As opposed to lying. Because, look, your work screwed with my head, Lenny, like you keep me up at night, right? You're the reason.

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Go back to the example of the gift.

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Fine, I'll give it to you.

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The mistake she made was saying, "I love it."

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Right.

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Thank you so much for thinking of me. No issue. Oh, you didn't have to give me a gift. This is so kind of you. The mistake she made was, I love it, the effusive thanks for the generosity and thinking of her was where she should have stopped.

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Yeah, I'm not going to ever give you a gift.

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First of all, Simon is here, but.

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Yes, but Simon, what if the person says, did you like the gift?

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Right now you play a game of obfuscation, which is unfair.

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Right. I got your gift. Did you like it?

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I mean, this happened to me where I went to see a friend's play, and it was easily the worst thing I've ever seen in my life. I mean, it was abominable.

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Right.

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And I meet my friend backstage right after the play. She's still in costume. She's still in makeup. The adrenaline is still pumping. And of course, the first question out of her mouth is, what did you think?

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Right now, she knows me to be an honest broker. And I say, oh, it was so fantastic seeing you on the stage. I'm so proud of you all true.

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That was good.

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So this is what I've started to learn, which is honesty doesn't have to happen in the moment. It can happen at a later date. I still wanted to answer her question, but the problem was she was so jacked up on adrenaline and the timing was too soon that had I said it now, the delta of her excitement to where I was going to put her, that's what would have made her upset.

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So the next day, when the adrenaline was down and her baseline was lower, I said, hey, can I tell you what I thought about your play yesterday?

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She goes, Yeah, I'd love to know. And I said, You know what? I got to tell you, the script was weak. The directing was weak. You know, wonderful to watch you, but I felt sorry for you. In the middle of it. She goes, it wasn't good. She could now have a rational conversation with me where the day before, there's no way she could have a rational conversation with me. So the challenge that I put to myself is I have to always be honest, but I don't always have to make that on a statement in the moment.

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Right.

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But I didn't lie.

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I think that's a great strategy when dealing with people. But I have to challenge what happens when you're dealing with a faceless system. What happens when you're dealing with a bureaucracy that is demanding time sheets, so when you're dealing with people, A, that's the way to go because people are malleable and I think you're taking advantage of that. Simon, I don't think you would lie to me and hopefully you don't think I would lie to you, but I got a feeling both of us would lie to a system.

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Yeah.

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And that's part of the ethical fading is one of the thing is you said it yourself. Dist. have me talk to a computer and put in my ID card and digitally sign it. That's so much easier than you look at me in the face and you saying, did you like my podcast? And so organizations are faceless. And a lot of times that ethical fading is so much easier because we're digitally signing it or marking. I read your agreement thing in the beginning.

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That's twenty two pages long. I read it and understand and agree to it. Sure, I'll do that.

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We've all agreed to everything with none of us have ever read it.

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I know if they just said I agree and didn't say I read and understand, I'll be fine. But I didn't read it. I didn't understand it. But I want my product so give it to me, you know. And so that's what I'm saying. When you're talking person to person, ethical fading doesn't happen as readily as put me in front of a kiosk, put me in front of a tollbooth, put me in front of something I want that's just blocking me from getting something I need.

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Hey, I hate to say it. We're human now. You've got to be careful. I'm not making excuses for lying.

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I understand. Hypocrisy is the word that you used before to explain this. And it seems to me and I can only refer to my own lifetime because I didn't live earlier, but if you look at how divided our nation is, if we sit back in our academic ivory towers and you evaluate without putting our own points of views and political points of views on what either side is saying, both sides are filled with unbelievable hypocrisy.

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And the funny thing is, is the attack that one side makes on the other side is to point out their hypocrisy.

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But the hypocrisy on both sides that a party or a group of people hold two opinions that are absolutely diametrically opposed in logic.

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Right. But what we say is you're a hypocrite. And what's implied is and I'm not.

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And I'm not.

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And that's not true. The answer really is you're a hypocrite and I'm a hypocrite.

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And if anyone could do that, if a party could do that, if a group of people in debate could do that, that seems to me like the most essential starting point to actually get to progress and conclusion.

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Right. Because what's wrong with admitting that we're human now? Some humans are more despicable than other humans. So we'll say let's take them out of the picture. But still, there's nothing wrong with saying I'm human. I haven't led a perfect life. I will find dirt on anybody because I think they are human, too. But and this goes back to the army. We create a type of person that we say, oh, an Army officer never tells a lie.

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Now, they should never tell a lie. They should think lies are wrong. But they should also admit that they're human because that's part of self awareness.

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But this binary world that we live in, I really love this. I mean, simply saying, look, you're a hypocrite. We shouldn't actually attack the person. We should attack the behavior. Let's start there.

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OK

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So what you said was hypocritical. That is pure hypocrisy. And we are hypocrites to just hearing that, just saying those words out loud to you. It lets the pressure out that we can actually have a rational conversation now.

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But you'll never get elected office, Simon.

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Or would you?

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Yeah, that's a good question, is our society ready for that? One of the hardest places I've had this discussion with was at West Point. Because at West Point, a cadet will not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do, and it is very binary. Now, what's nice about West Point is West Point started saying that is a very tall hurdle for any young person.

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And so it used to be that you got kicked out if you violated that at all. Now, what they've discovered is that you could make a mistake and you realize that a cadet should not lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do. But we're not going to kick you out because that would cause you to lie about the fact that you did make a transgression. We're going to offer now discretion. We're going to have you be developed. We'll have you meet with a mentor and discuss what happened.

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And we'll work through it. See, what we should to do is you're human. You aspire to be a person who never lied to you.

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And more importantly, you aspire. And we will help you.

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Exactly. And we all admit lying is not good.

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The system is designed to help you.

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Right.

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But we're not going to say. And the consequences of lying are so steep that you won't even admit you lie.

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I got this from your work that the punishment for telling the truth was greater. Then the punishment for lying, right? If you told the truth, I didn't complete this, it would hurt your promote ability. But if you lied, you're more likely to get promoted.

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If everyone else is lying to, then it makes it easier. So we start creating an expectation that you have to be perfect. When you're talking about young people, we talk about soldiers. When you talk about employees, when you're talking about children, we have to really think hard if you expecting them to be perfect. What do you expect them to do when something isn't perfect?

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The obvious next step for us to talk about is, well, how do we change this, like how do we combat ethical fading and what's the solution?

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Yeah, I'm just an academic, so I don't come up with actual answers.

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So

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But I think you're on to something here, which is the solution is to turn truth and honesty not into an absolute but into an ideal, a striving. It's an idealism.

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It is still an absolute.

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OK, OK, an aspirational absolute rather than a current state absolute.

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Right.

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It's still an absolute it's still something everyone should strive for. And yes, we could draw the line and say, no, that was not truthful. So it's absolute. But what we can't do is say and I want you to surround me with all these people that never lie. I want you to surround me in a system that always tells me exactly what I want to hear and somehow live in that system, because that's a false world.

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I think this is where the solution lies. This has to be a striving or as an organization, we say we believe honesty is important. The whenever the companies give me their list of values and honesty is one of them, I always make fun of them. Like if you have to write honesty on the wall, you've got bigger problems. But we believe telling the truth is important. By the way, everybody thinks they're honest. First of all, it has to be a verb.

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Tell the truth. That's number one, because everybody knows they don't always tell the truth, but everybody thinks they're honest.

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So tell the truth. Right, number one, and say you will get punished here more if you lie about the mistake than tell us the mistake that if you hide the indiscretion, then tell us the indiscretion, because if you tell us, we can help you. If you tell us we can coach you, we can sit down, we can discuss the circumstances, we can figure out alternatives, if you felt trapped, we can work together to figure out alternatives, especially if it's person to person, because we have solutions for that.

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Right.

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But I think that's what these systems and organizations have to become.

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They have to become coaching organizations rather than judging organizations.

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Well, and I go further, is that the army is a profession and a profession means that we have these kind of standards. That means that we have these kinds of expectations. But it's also a bureaucracy. And it fights between these two identities, the bureaucracy says, tell me everything's OK. It wants statistics, it wants metrics. It wants all the measures of the world is good. That's the bureaucracy kicking in. And what I say is everything that you said, yes, that should happen, but organizationally I think we have to tell the soldiers saying we will try our hardest not to lead.

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By getting you to tell me everything is OK.

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We have to create a safe space for you to be able to tell me that's supposed to be at the suggestion boxes, right?

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Right. That's a huge step you're asking for, right? That's a huge step.

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You're asking for

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I'm an idealist.

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But I'm just saying the system cannot rely on processes and checklists that you force the person to tell you everything's OK because they know that's what you want to hear. They know that you well-meaningly, want to make sure every soldier drives away in a vehicle that's been inspected. But don't do it by making the soldiers say my vehicles have been suspected. Do it by making a leader go down there

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and check

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and spend their time checking. So my solution to your question is, how do we solve this?

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My answer is leadership. What I'm saying is leaders, if you want to know something and it's really that important that you will spend your time checking on it, then go check on it. If you want to know, did everyone qualify at the range, then sample 10 percent of them and you'll find out. Did everyone really qualify at the range instead of asking for a roster

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and the uncomfortable part of this?

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Is that we discover the lie when the vehicle crashes and we find out that it wasn't inspected,

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and then we find out that the entire system that we've been relying on for vehicle maintenance is all a charade. And we go around, it's not just this unit, holy mackerel, this unit, this unit. No one's doing this. And why aren't they doing it? Because they view it as. Ethically fading, they really don't want to know the truth here, they just got to get through this process to go on leave

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and this has nothing to do with the military.

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Your career happens to be a military one you now teach at the military. But this is an organizational issue,

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Right.

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Companies are exactly the same. I mean, you look at that 2008 housing crisis, everybody was saying checks and balances and it's safe and nobody ever checked.

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Right. Right.

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Then all of a sudden, all of the corruption or instability or broken systems were all revealed after the whole thing collapsed, of course.

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Right.

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Because as long as the charade is working, as long as everybody thinks it's stable, including us, then we just go about our merry way.

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Right. I call it mutually agreed deception. You know, I'm lying. I know I'm lying. But neither of us really care. So let's move on with it. It's sort of like, remember the old days Simon when we scored a exit row seat? And the flight attendant to come around and give the mandatory talk and then they say, are you willing and capable? And you look at this seventy-six pound person sitting beside you that, you know, cannot lift that exit door if they wanted to.

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Right. Right.

[00:27:14]

Or they don't speak the language and, you know, they really don't know what's going on. And they said, are you willing and capable if you understand everything. So respond with a verbal yes. And the entire row would say yes.

[00:27:23]

And then you say, yeah, right.

[00:27:25]

You know, so it's like mutually agreed deception. And that's what we can't create in organizations, is that they know we're lying, we know we're lying and everyone's happy because we love to be living in this hypocritical world that we've created.

[00:27:40]

And there's laziness all around. Right.

[00:27:41]

Right.

[00:27:42]

The leader doesn't have to go down and check the vehicles. And again, it doesn't have to be every vehicle. As you said, it's a sampling. You can do sampling or you can do it randomly, like there are ways around this.

[00:27:50]

But I think the net of this is leadership is hard work,

[00:27:53]

leadership is hard work, and you can't do everything.

[00:27:56]

So if the vehicles being inspected is that important, then inspect them. But if it's not that important and think of some other way.

[00:28:03]

It's me and my time sheets like what my boss should have done, said Simon, I know you left at seven o'clock the other night because you and I met at six o'clock. So why don't you go back and redo your time sheets? And I say, Well, boss, I don't remember what times I came and left because I haven't done these in three weeks.

[00:28:20]

He's going to say, fine, I'm going to let you get away with it this once. But now I'm checking.

[00:28:25]

Right.

[00:28:26]

Are we satisfied that we have a good solution here?

[00:28:29]

Look, the first solution, though, is admit that this phenomenon happens.

[00:28:32]

Yeah.

[00:28:33]

Because then we self regulate. Then we say, you know, I think I'm starting to ethically fail here. I think I've come up with excuses because I'm just trying to get what I want. So that's at the personal level. Then we kick it up to an organizational level and we start saying, wait a minute, am I forcing the employees or subordinates to lie on this because.

[00:28:52]

I just want them to know that this is important and now I'm making them say this, so at the personal level, we have to admit it and then say, am I doing it? At the organizational level, we have to say to ourselves, am I creating a culture where I'm expecting people to lie to me? And so I shouldn't do that

[00:29:08]

leadership is not always at the top of the organization, being a whistleblower is a form of leadership where I'm going to point out what you are making us do, the system that you've created for whatever short term gains is forcing behaviors in this organization that are unethical and sometimes illegal, and because we said leadership is hard work.

[00:29:29]

I'm going to be the one to call it out and tell my boss and say, hey, boss, I need to have an uncomfortable conversation with you.

[00:29:34]

The risk is you could lose your job.

[00:29:36]

And that's why I temper that with saying I don't advocate whistleblowing. I advocate get with your buddies. And when you go into the meeting, you say, let's tell the truth. Finally, we get to tell the truth on this as a group on this and this. But she doesn't want to hear the truth on this, so we'll just ignore that for now. But on these three things, we're going to go with the truth.

[00:29:53]

And if she wants to tell us the lie to her, we're going to make her tell us so I don't go for the whistle blowing because that'll be the last whistle you blow in the organization if you do that.

[00:30:03]

But this is very, very, very important. What you're talking about, which is it is a form of whistle blowing, but there's safety in numbers. If I go into my boss's office, I'm going to lose my job. But if I get together with my colleagues, we all know what we are subjected to. And if we go in and say this is what is happening, we need you to be aware. We're not accusing you of anything.

[00:30:22]

We want you to be aware of this. And if you want this to continue, we need you to tell us to lie.

[00:30:29]

Exactly. Like I said, you got to use your wisdom on saying, look, she's backed into a wall on this

[00:30:36]

number

[00:30:36]

it can't be an accusation. It has to be a discussion of the situation we're in and the pressures we're under. Not like, boss, you're a liar. You're making us a liar because then they're going to dig in their heels

[00:30:46]

and to openly understand reality.

[00:30:48]

OK, boss, you need us to lie to you on this one. But on these, I think you could cut us a break. It would be better for us and you if we had a relationship where you trusted us to tell you the truth on everything that we could. That's the ideal because we live in an imperfect system and imperfect people. So let's try to do as best as we can, given who we are and where we live.

[00:31:09]

If I were to summarize what I've learned in this ethical fading is a real thing.

[00:31:15]

And it is a fact we're all human.

[00:31:18]

Yeah.

[00:31:20]

Fact all organizations are made up of human beings, so of all human beings are imperfect and at various times we're all hypocrites and we lie. Then that means that every organization which is made up with all these imperfect beings at various points are hypocrites and there is systemic lying, institutionalized lying.

[00:31:41]

Yeah.

[00:31:42]

So what we should do is sensitize ourselves to what is this phenomenon? I do it. When do I do it? I want to minimize that. But then there's a next step and say, and I don't want to be a party to creating that environment for somebody else.

[00:31:54]

And I choose to be a part of a solution. I choose to be a part of moving myself, my friends, my organization, towards being more honest, more ethical every day. And so when I find myself in the situation, I will be the leader I wish I had, I will gather my friends together, we will lead in a productive manner, make these things known so that we can, as a collective with our superiors and our subordinates, find a solution.

[00:32:26]

And if our bosses are under such extreme pressure that they want us to continue to lie, then at least be honest about the lying. Tell us to our face I want you to lie, which most will struggle to do. They will use euphemisms. Guys, guys, I don't want you to lie. We have to hit our shareholder value.

[00:32:41]

Of course, I don't want you to lie, but we have to complete our requirements and to continue to point out to the hypocrisy until either there's a solution or an instruction to lie.

[00:32:50]

And because the instruction to lie is way too difficult for someone to give, we hope that they choose the easier option, which is to find a solution, which isn't that what we all want anyway?

[00:32:59]

What you're essentially saying is take down the facade. The facade of everything is perfect, everyone's telling the truth. Take that down and say, OK, look, this is the way it is, this is reality. Let's be truthful with one another. It's really what it is. And so that's not a bad conclusion to this whole discussion.

[00:33:18]

We had Simon

[00:33:19]

Lenny from one imperfect person to another imperfect person. I'm glad that we had an imperfect conversation.

[00:33:27]

Who would have thought we'd get together, both admit that we're imperfect

[00:33:30]

and I feel a little bit closer to perfect in my perfect way today.

[00:33:36]

It's been fun.

[00:33:37]

Thanks for your time. I really do enjoy talking to you.

[00:33:40]

All right. Take care.

[00:33:45]

If you enjoyed this podcast and if you'd like to hear more, please subscribe wherever you like to listen to podcasts. Until then, take care of yourself. Take care of each other.