Business & Leadership Behaviors Random Thoughts

Honesty in Data AND in Business

The foundation of all of our client solutions over the past two decades has been centered on barcoding, RFID, and other forms of trustworthy data capture. It’s crazy to think we’ve been doing this for twenty years. But in all of that time, the core of this work has not changed. It remains focused on providing information that you can trust and leverage in your business operations.

I also believe that business practices should also be built on a similar foundation of trust. After all, business is personal!

Many corporations like to tout statements like Employees are our greatest assets or Our customers are number one. But if that’s true, why do we frequently feel like we’re a line item on a spreadsheet when decisions get made? Are they lying?

The most rational reason I can think of is that behaviors don’t always reflect the content of a company’s communications. Unfortunately, this seems to be more common than an exception.

The optimist in me wants to believe that it is a mistaken result. But the practical side says that in most instances, it really isn’t – and is likely intentional. It’s human nature. We don’t wish to do the wrong thing, and we don’t do it maliciously. But on the other hand, we don’t really want to do something that isn’t in our best interest or may cause us some discomfort or pain.

Compounding the problem is that many times we justify that behavior with some rationale that we create. As a result, we’re dishonest with ourselves because that supports our needs.

Honesty and Grandma

Last week I came across a couple of entertaining examples of this behavior that you may enjoy…

The Honest Truth about Dishonesty by Dan Ariely gives an excellent example of how this works. He states, “Over the course of many years of teaching, I have noticed that there typically seems to be a rash of deaths among students’ relatives at the end of the semester. It happens mostly in the week before final exams and before papers are due.” Guess which relative most often dies? Grandma.

Another research study by Dr. Mike Adams at Eastern Connecticut State University provides even more insight into these catastrophic occurrences. It illustrates that grandmothers are ten times more likely to die before a midterm and nineteen times more likely to die before a final exam. Worse, grandmothers of students who are not doing well in class are at even higher risk. Students who are failing are fifty times more likely to lose Grandma than non-failing students.

Poor Grandma.

It turns out that the greatest predictor of mortality among senior citizens ends up being their grandchildren’s GPAs. The moral of all this is, if you are a grandparent, do not let your grandchild go to college. It’ll kill you – especially if he or she is intellectually challenged.

Honesty and Business

Truth be told, just as it hurts in college to fudge on our work and goal of education – it hurts our ability to grow a profitable business while effectively serving our customers. I think that the solution is to be intentional with your goals, communication, and actions. That creates an environment of trust both within your organization and with your customers and partners.

Our HLG Mission Statement is to provide the level of integrity and quality that you would desire from a supplier, a partner, or your employer. It’s not always easy to live up to that standard – both financially & personally – but it certainly makes life easier in the long run.

At a commencement ceremony I attended a few years back, the speaker spoke to “How truth can travel”. He was trying to convey to the kids that if you stick with the truth from the beginning, you don’t have to remember a chain of dishonest statements or actions to avoid getting caught – because the truth will “travel” and dishonesty will eventually be revealed.

Honesty and HLG

While living in the truth is sometimes painful, that pain is temporary and will allow your energy to be focused on improvement and correction. At HLG, if there is a mistake or bad news to be heard, we believe that the sooner we acknowledge it, the faster we can work on the solution.

Business is personal and is based on trust, not necessarily friendship. But I have found that, like a good marriage, you can have both if you’re intentional and strong. These relationships of trust have been the foundation of my business partnerships and the success of HL Group. I thank all of you that are in this group, and I look forward to my ever-expanding network in the future.



Wes Haubein is the President of HL Group, Inc., a premier provider of mobile asset inventory management and warehouse solutions. He writes regularly about management, solution integration, and technology.