Pursuing Ethical Truth Share:
- Steve Williamson, Sr. Project Manager, eRep, Inc.
- Monday, March 26, 2018
Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have given us a painful example of how elusive truth can be and how easily it can be manipulated. The contrast between truth and fact becomes more stark with every exposed scandal that passes over our smart phone and computer screens. It reminds me of the scene in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where Dr. Jones, played by Harrison Ford, says during a lecture, "Archeology is the search for fact, not truth. If it's truth you're interested in, Dr. Tyree's philosophy class is right down the hall."
In my mind, truth can be thought of as the pursuit, acknowledgement and respect of fact.
A truth held in opposition to fact is a dangerous thing, and in essence isn't a truth at all.
Humans are adept at recognizing patterns and changes in those patterns. It is a survival instinct that enables us to do important things quickly, like spot predators or identify potential mates. Our innate pattern recognition abilities grant us an edge at making time-critical decisions without having a full suite of facts.
Truth is a kind of survival tool that we use to make decisions in the absence of factual information.
Truth also relies on a certain amount of trust. In some ways, truth implies the existence of trust. We trust that the information given to us by news agencies or recruiters or candidates is reliable and factual. We trust that their truth is mostly fact. It isn't efficient to independently verify the full and complete facts of every claim made, so we use truth to efficiently get through our day and hope it is factual.
What happens when those truths are manufactured, incomplete, skewed, or flat-out wrong (unfactual)? Where do we turn for the information we need to make correct decisions? How do we regain a justified reliance and trust in our sources of truth?
We unwittingly participate in many situations and scenarios that are based on a reliance in truth. During the hiring process, we rely on the candidate to tell the truth on their resume and in their interview. We rely on their references to tell the truth when we ask about the candidate's work history and behavior. We rely on recruiters who tell us the candidate they sent over is the best of the best. Most people are essentially truthful people, but it can be surprisingly easy for their conscious and subconscious motivations to skew or stretch the truth without them even being aware of it.
The pursuit and production of truth should be intrinsic in everything we do as individuals and organizations. Companies should create a culture of factual truth, led by example from the very top, and encourage — nay, require — that every employee perform their duties in an ethically truthful way. Marketing and communications must come from a position of fact. Policies that govern how a company operates need to encompass an ethical ethos that embraces fact-backed truth.
Ray Dalio, in his book, Principles, describes an ethos of radical transparency where employees at his company are encouraged both by policy and by the example of leadership to be as open and honest with each other as possible. This principle of radical transparency acknowledges that without an active and earnest pursuit of fact, operational performance will suffer, or at the very least fail to reach its full potential.
For a company to put an active focus on factual, ethical truth, they must start by hiring those who embody that focus in everything they do.
Therein lies a risk, for how do we determine if those we hire really are truthful people?
How can we get the hiring process out of Dr. Tyree's philosophy class and into Dr. Jone's pursuit of fact?
It is not my intention to mention this in any sort of ironic way, but the Russian proverb, "Trust, but verify" is profoundly relevant to this discussion. We need to rely on the trust we have in others to be truthful to expedite the hiring process, but more importantly we need a way to efficiently verify those truths and get to the facts behind them.
eRep maintains and promotes a philosophy of ethical truth and transparency in what we do and how we operate. This extends to how we treat potential and current customers as well as how we behave with business partners and employees. Because the foundation of our product — the Core Values Index assessment — is all about using objective data to put the right people into the right role (what I call accurate hiring) it can be said that our entire mission is predicated on the pursuit of factual truth.
Accurate hiring cannot occur without it.
Go to eRep.com/core-values-index/ to learn more about the CVI or to take the Core Values Index assessment.
Innovator/Banker - Sr. Project Manager, eRep, Inc.
Steve has a career in information technology and software development spanning nearly three decades. He is the author of a trilogy of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles, and when he isn't writing he enjoys motorcycle adventure touring and buzzing around the skies in his home-built flight simulator.