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:

Try the Disney Way……

The Diversity of Disney

Workers in Disney diversity

Going to Disneyland is a magical experience.

Much of the enjoyment comes not only from the wonderful settings and characters but also from the people that work there. There are a wide variety of people from all over the world, at all age groups, all doing a mixture of activities with a common thread. They all try their best to give great customer service in whatever role they are involved with.

I am unfortunately not party to the Disney recruitment criteria, but you can be sure that diversity is high on their agenda. As long as you have the right “you’re going to have a great day today Sir” attitude, you’ve got the job, no matter whether you are 18 or 80, Chinese or Mexican, male or female. One thing is for certain, I bet being a “recruiter” for people at Disneyland is a lot of fun….

They have a laser focus on people who will give great service, and all the other criteria (such as age, gender and ethnic origin) come a distant second.

It made me think.

Workers in Disney Mickey

Working in the technical recruitment market as I do, a common issue that I come across is how to open the market up to source more candidates for a particular position. In the technical space, we are very niche in the way we view the skill sets required and the sectors we chose from. From an experience point of view, my clients are looking for very specific competencies, which makes it even stranger that the “older” professionals sometimes do not get considered as often as they should.

We have to be more focused on the requirements of the roles and let the other criteria fade into the background. An ambitious 25-year-old who only stays for 18 months would not be as good a hire as a 55-year-old who can utilise his experience not only in his role but also in a mentoring capacity for others. The lack of hiring boundaries for Disney was a real eye-opener for me.

What is also clear is the level of trust that Disney put in their workforce. It was very evident in everybody I met who worked there. From the guy who seemed convinced he had been born and raised in Fantasyland to the lady who was encouraging me to dance with the parade. They all operate freely and have obviously been trained very well and had the vision of the organisation expressed very clearly to them. Irrespective of background, you felt that they were part of the Disney family.

I agree that the skills required to work at Disney are more generic than many businesses, but the Disney “cast” are a shining example of true diversity in action.

Industry could learn a lot from the organization, training and culture that exists at the most magical place on earth.

Written by Lee Narraway and edited by Paul Drury

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Lee Narraway

Phone: 01925 747 712 Email: LinkedIn: Website: