Just How Important is Honesty?

With a few notable exceptions, our film industry (and society, in general) loves to play on the stereotype of the bad boy in business. From Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone to Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, we cannot help but be charmed by their seemingly boyish disregard for the rules.

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Life often imitates art and vice versa. Big businesses the world over have “bent” the rules wherever possible for their personal gain. Whether it is offshore tax evasion, sweatshops in the Far East or overstating your profits to your shareholders, there are many opportunities to play the bad boy and win at the expense of others.

For a big, faceless corporation, if it is seen as the “done thing”, then the individuals involved practically absolve themselves of responsibility and go with the flow. This is morally reprehensible of course, and some of the biggest tragedies of the last 100 years have come about for exactly this reason.

People need to stand up and be counted. Otherwise our societies will slide deeper into the mire. If the individual moral compass starts to slide, then we have no more hope for a just and fair society or business climate.

You cannot control others or tell them what to do – they will make their own decisions. However, you can be true to yourself. If you feel that something is wrong, why shouldn’t you speak up? If enough of you speak up on a regular enough basis, that is enough to engender change higher up the hierarchy.

There was a case recently at the UK Retailer Tesco where they routinely misreported profits over a significant length of time. The CEO and a number of Trading Directors were involved. I won’t even speculate as to the origin of this deceit, but the aftermath has rocked a UK corporate giant to the core. The Directors involved have all left the business, and their names will forever more be associated with the scandal.

Not doing the right thing is often an easier choice to make than doing the right thing. However, the consequences of this could be with you forever.

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Working in recruitment, being honest with clients and candidates is something that should be second nature, Patrick Broderick the first trainer I had in recruitment once said to me “all you have in recruitment is your ethics”.

We are dealing with the hopes and dreams of people – they deserve a truthful opinion. Our clients rely on us to find the best possible candidates for their roles. In a candidate-led market, we ensure that they find the best-fit person for them and never overpromise like many of our competitors.

If a candidate has certain weak points, I will tell them. If they are over-ambitious, I will tell them. I will give them feedback as to why they may not have got a role and help them to make the best career choices.

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If a client is unrealistic with their expectations, we will set them at the right level. If they don’t understand the nature of the market, we won’t sugar coat it. If they insist on perfection, we will even walk away. We’ll do our best, but, in our industry, perfection is a pipe dream.

With an honest person, what you see is what you get. No frills, just plain old common sense. When two honest people are working together, the optimal result is always possible.



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Lee Narraway Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: LinkedIn: Website:

Can You See the Light? The Danger Of Hope

Hope is a complicated feeling

It can keep you going through tough times, a ray of light behind the clouds to hint at a brighter future. It helps you to overcome obstacles and learn the painful lessons that lie on the path to your goal. Your belief in your hope inspires others to believe in their dreams – it is contagious, and one of the most uplifting feelings that you can experience.

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However, not wanting to burst the bubble, when hope is irrational, it can also be one of the most limiting feelings that you can experience. It can hold you back at the vital moment when you need to change something, and paralysis can swiftly ensue. Just crossing your fingers and hoping for the best makes you feel good, but sometimes, unless you act to make things happen, your desired outcome is unlikely to come to pass.

Hope is not a strategy when something needs to change

Don’t get me wrong, persistence and hope are still the source of much that is good in the world. However, after a certain number of attempts, when persistence seems to be failing, experimentation has to kick in.

Edison famously invented the light bulb after 10,000 “successful failures.” I might doubt the number involved, but I don’t doubt that he made slight changes to the formula after a few attempts at each iteration. He might have sat in his lab, crossing his fingers for every individual attempt, but it won’t have been his only strategy. It was a scientific certainty that if he tried for long enough, in enough different ways, that he would eventually achieve success. He did.

So, in short, I agree that there is virtue in “try, try and trying again” but the wisest people understand the point when the same action is not going to bring about a different result.

It takes real courage to abandon hope in a certain direction and place your hope in a new one. When you have done this (successfully) a few times, you realise that changing the focus of your hope does not make it any less powerful – with every “new” hope, your resolve becomes stronger.

The danger of hope is when it becomes tired and weak. That is when hope can become destructive. If you have spent years “hoping” for a certain outcome, but never changing anything to make it happen, it can have a knock-on effect on the rest of your life. You stop believing in hope altogether, and the other areas of your life start to suffer. A person with no hopes and dreams lives a life of emptiness.

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Every now and again, I see a candidate come into the room who is obviously on the verge of giving up. They have often been “hoping” for too long, but not doing enough about it. I try to help them with a different course of action.

In a job search, as in life, you have to invest your hopes wisely.

Written by Lee Narraway and Edited by Paul Drury

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Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: LinkedIn: Website: