Want to know what keeps me up at night? It happens to be the status of truth in our society. I remember when the Internet first came out. And I thought that it would be the final arbitrator of truth. You could look up any fact you wanted. Well, I that prediction proved partly right. On the Internet, you can find any truth to fit your point of view!
In a 2016 interview, former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich added that “what people feel about an issue is more important than what is true, and that their feelings about that truth will be more important than the actual facts.”
What role does truth still play in business? On this week’s Small Business Radio Show, we interview Shiv Singh. Singh authored “Savvy: Navigating Fake Companies, Fake Leaders and Fake News in the Post-Trust Era.” He says that unfortunately today, “truth has become negotiable. It has become about who has the loudest voice and who can best play on our emotions. Truth has become opinion even if you have to put facts to one side.”
Role of Truth in Business
Shiv says that businesses have more influence on the world than we often realize, and they need to take that responsibility seriously. In fact, research shows that “businesses are more trusted today than the government and media” and every company must think about the specific steps it must take to maintain that trust. Each owner should think about their cultures, their leadership and what type of teams they are creating and understand how the role of truth in business fits in.
Unfortunately, social media has weaponized the spread of fakery to consumers. While there are a lot of rules from government agencies that prevent companies from lying to consumers, people still do it to get an unfair advantage in business.
Shiv believes that “telling the truth” has become a key responsibility of business. In fact, “it requires a new kind of relationship with consumers. One with greater trust, evidence driven marketing and values-oriented behaviors.” It is important that small business take advantage of this trend and move their companies in that direction.
If you encounter fakery from your competitors in business, Shiv suggests a small business owner needs to confront it head on with facts. Because of the preponderance of fakery, businesses are forced to be more evidence driven. Shiv believes it’s time “for marketing to get boring because consumer get more uncomfortable with the unknown.”