I first heard the phrase “CYA” or “Cover Your Ass” in my corporate marketing job at the company that strongly propelled me out of corporate. 🙂 The CYA mentality is alive and well, and it’s the opposite of the Truth about which I like to speak. I’ve seen this magnified this week.
I’m a sponsor at an upcoming event and I’m super excited about my booth strategy. I’ve got a beautiful raffle prize and some cool giveaways that speak to the heart of my message. I am psyched.
I’m also a little pissed off.
The logistical challenge of a large conference is astounding. Being one booth in a sea of many means a variety of specific deadlines on submitting topics, strategies, and materials.
And for the last several weeks it’s meant selecting suppliers, ordering items, and coordinating shipments.
Now, most of you likely aren’t doing a lot of production and shipping in your businesses, but the physical world is a great demonstration of how Truth or Untruth gets magnified in the world to create bigger gaps than we might imagine.
Let me tell you what I’m talking about.
We ordered several booth items to be delivered to the company coordinating the event. There are two very specific delivery windows, and each requires a different address, and has different fees associated with the receipt of shipments. The later shipments must go to the site directly, and incur an additional handling fee.
In our ordering process, it was important for us to get clear about the turnaround time of our orders so we could provide the proper address and be sure to hit the delivery window.
One shipment was for a custom printed item, and they asked for a 7-business-day turnaround after final art, plus 5 days for shipping. That’s 13 days plus the weekends, which brought us to a rush-order with our designer in order to meet the deadline.
Two days after submitting our artwork, we received notice that the items had printed and shipped significantly ahead of schedule.
Our second order did not require printing, but was still billed as custom as they were unable to guarantee that the item would be in stock, and it would take 4 weeks to deliver. I was scheduled to be on a plane to the event in 4 weeks and a day, which was past the delivery deadline, so I chose to have the item shipped to me directly with a plan to carry it on the plane as checked luggage.
The item arrived on my doorstep in ten days. Turns out it would have had plenty of time to be shipped directly to the coordinator as an early shipment. In fact I had time to ship it there myself.
Now, we might think this is great! Everything is early!
But there’s a cost to padding timelines and not being Truthful. Both of these instances cost me – a rush order with my designer, and $220 to REsend the shipment.
What if they had just said this?
“Well, we have no real system to monitor our production schedule, we don’t trust our people do what they say, and we can’t tell when it will all come together for you, so your guess is as good as mine about when it will actually arrive, but worst case will be four weeks.”
Now, this sounds crazy, right? But here’s the thing, at least this truthful. Now I know what I’m dealing with and I can make decisions accordingly. I can find a different supplier that seems more organized, or I go with it and at least I won’t be surprised when it shows up early, costs me an hour of my day to reship, and incurs additional fees on my end.
It’s not just one supplier, this stuff is everywhere… systematic deceit… adding in extra days so we don’t disappoint, setting shipping deadlines early to account for the stragglers who fall behind, you name it.
Where there is lack of Truth there is uncertainty. Any time we aren’t 100% accurate about WHAT IS, we are introducing uncertainty, and these little uncertainties add up to big gaps in timing in the physical world.
How does this affect your energy in your business?
Think about your words and thoughts as your version of a printing and shipping timeline. Every time you exaggerate a statement, or hold back and sandbag so you don’t put your butt on the line and risk disappointing people, it’s like you’ve created a gap in your delivery. Being afraid to state the result you will deliver is affecting you and your clients’ decision-making ability.
It may not show up as a package arriving 2 weeks early, but it will, however, show up in that subtle feeling that something is off, that you’re not OK, that you’re out of integrity.
The Truth About WHAT’S SO
When you are 100% truthful with yourself no matter what, you can communicate in a way that best represents you, and will ultimately serve your customer. You’ll resist the urge to try to assume you know what’s best for your customer, and you can instead have a real conversation about WHAT’S SO.
These companies assumed I’d rather have things arrive early, and that erring on the side of underestimating and over-delivering would make me happy. But it made me make entirely different decisions than I would have had they been honest.
This applies with the idea of “sell them what they want, give them what they need” that is so popular in marketing. If I feel as if I know what you really need (and often I do with respect to my line of work), but I don’t check in to see that you’re willing to go there too, I’ve set us both up for disappointment.
Where are the little lies you, or those around you, tell to ‘pad’ against the Truth causing disappointment in the end? This is more of a discussion than an answer. I’d love for you to you share your Truth!