In this election season I have been aghast at the way truth has been stretched by those hoping to lead us. Or perhaps I should say the way they spout outright lies even in the face of factual evidence showing the falseness of what they say. My father always called this confabulation…meaning that it’s not a lie if you actually convince yourself it’s true. It’s still false but somehow not exactly as abhorrent as lying.
Or, as Stephen Colbert has so wonderfully expounded, it’s truthiness…something you believe because it feels right to you and supports your view even in the total absence of any evidence, logic, or intellectual examination. Generally this means, confabulation.
Sadly our political campaigns and governing in general has degenerated into an exercise of confabulation with little basis in fact or the actual situation. It’s hardly a surprise that confidence in politicians approaches zero as those of us on the outside looking in clearly see the truthiness of so many of the things they say. Often we notice how much they are confabulating by the simple exercise of looking out the window or talking to our neighbors or our co-workers.
For some reason politicians think we do not see, do not observe, are unable to understand the basic falsehood of what they say versus what they do.
Unfortunately this same disease seems to infect quite a few executives. They seem to believe that if they say something enough people will come to believe it in spite of the contrary evidence of all their senses. In some cases, clearly this is true. Those caught in the same fantasy will be happy to believe.
But what about the rest of us, those who actually think about things, understand facts and evidence? What about we who find truth and a grounding in reality to be a good thing? What do we think about this truthiness vs truth and what it says about you and the way you lead your organization?
In an era of limited resources and slow growth the difference between success and failure is often how you are perceived and whether this leads to people wanting to do business with you or not. If not, there is certainly a competitor with a better story based on facts rather than fantasy, a story that people can believe and want to become part of.
In the case of this presidential election we seem to have a choice of which truthiness is less false. It certainly is no way to run a country…or any other organization. Where are you on the truth versus truthiness scale? And are you aware that everyone knows it? And acts accordingly.