The Big Difference

by Roger Pynn


An old friend has a sign on his wall that says:

“Honesty is a value.
Candor is a risk.”

I’ve decided to expand on that and put a new sign on my wall:

“Honesty is a value.
Candor is a risk.
Transparency is a must.”

It comes down to some simple concepts.

We simply expect people to be honest with us. Don’t you hate it when someone says “I’ll be honest with you”? It always makes me wonder when they stopped being honest with me … or whether I should assume they usually aren’t.

Candor is something altogether different. Many people would rather you not be candid with them. For instance, if you think I made a huge mistake in my choice of ties this morning I’d likely prefer to hear about it later if I’m in an environment where a tie is required but I have no chance to replace the monstrosity I am wearing.

Transparency, on the other hand, is a topic of much discussion in today’s often highly charged conversations about ethics. You could be both honest and candid with me, but if you have an agenda for being candid, the fact that you told me the truth is tainted.

Often in business you find someone attempting to reel you in with “total honesty” (one of life’s great oxymorons) but when it comes at you with what I like to call wide-eyed candor – that “golly gee I’m being open with you” look – beware.

Tell me the truth. Be candid with me. Tell me why.

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