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Lest we all be considered hopeless Pollyannas, let me point out the obvious self-interest angle to honesty. You can't buy trust: you can only earn it; but you can lose it in one act of dishonesty.

Years of fair play and open honest dealing can be completely demolished and utterly wasted by one act of betrayal.


Love that last line, a potent and well-phrased reminder. Have had to make that point to more than one client who was thoughtlessly dabbling in dangerous ground ... but don't think I ever said it so well. Thanks for the thought and the extra ammo.

Very thought provoking post, Ann. This would be "hopeless Pollyanna" checking in here. No question that "honesty rules". Integrity is at the foundation of not only work, but life itself. Yet I'm feeling a bit like I may have "bought the lie". Is having some fun at work and perhaps finding some fullfillment while serving the Company truly too much to aspire toward? I'd like to hear a debate between Andrew O'Conner and Carr Hagerman sometime...

Great article -- I think I hurt my neck from all the nodding that I was doing. I escaped from a law firm environment several years ago and I was always hoping that one magical day, one of the leaders would have simply admitted that it all boiled down to the billable hours. I could have respected that person. Clear expectations and honest leadership yield better results than terror or happy platitudes. (The day I decided to leave the law firm life was the day a senior partner said in a review, "You do great work, but you should spend more time on everything. We could have billed much more for this level of quality.")


Thanks for stopping by. Just noticing only now that my initial (and more timely) attempt to reply to your comment was apparently never published. Sorry - user error, I'm sure. Anyway, I'm not against fun and fulfillment at work, I'm just for truthfulness in the employment relationship. And against employers who pretend the bottom line isn't really important until the day that it really, really is and the rug is yanked out from under mis-informed employees. Or perhaps some of my own experiences have just left me a wee bit too cynical...

So, you'll be setting up that Andrew O'Conner and Carr Hagerman debate, yes? Perhaps a Compensation Force exclusive...


Yes to clear expectations and honest leadership. Sounds like you and I have had similar experiences in "the land of billable hours". Thanks for sharing!

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About The Author

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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