Liar, Liar …

Pinocchio - Enrico Mazzanti {PD-1923}“The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves.”

V.S. Naipaul

For no reason I will share publicly, let’s think a bit today on the types of un-truths we may speak in the course of living our lives.  Here’s my shot at identifying a few major categories, some of which overlap at times.  Shoot, a good liar could probably hit three or four of these with one well-constructed and spiteful statement:


The good old-fashioned whopper, where we just do not tell the truth.  We deliberately say something that is not true about a person, an event, or a situation.  Perfected by small children wishing to escape punishment, as in “I didn’t do it.”  To truly lie by commission, you have to claim something that is not true about a person, an event, or a situation.   “The check is in the mail” and “I’m just finishing up that report and you will have it tomorrow morning” are adult examples. 

NOTE:  Complexity is often part of lying.  In the report example, you will note that two separate events are being referenced.  The reality of this situation may be:

1)  I have started the report, but not yet finished it.

2) I have not started the report, but will do so now.

3)  I have not started the report and have no serious intention of doing so anytime soon.

4)  I do not know what report to which you refer.

5)  I have finished the report, but forgot to deliver it to you.

6)  I have finished the report, but am not concerned with getting it to you quickly.

7)  I have finished the report and will tell another lie tomorrow about why you do not yet have it.

8) I finished the report and sent it, but to the wrong address/person and I am not going to admit that in a million years.

9)  I started the report and realized I was missing something important, so have started over at the last minute.


Sometimes we lie when we leave something out, or as I like to say, “forget” to include some essential piece of information.  Sometimes it’s not what we say, but what we do not say.  I may tell my wife that I stopped at the grocery store and the cleaners on my way home, but “forget” to mention a stop-off at the book store, which might have been more expensive than the other two stops combined.


We lie when we make a thing seem more than it is … more important, more serious, more impacting.  For examples, see much of what is said when adolescents are talking to each other.  “It was like the most exciting thing ever!!!” is an exaggeration, unless the Sun has just gone dark or exploded … then it would be pretty accurate.  Applied to things we encounter on a daily basis, not so much.

Telling someone your product or service is “The Best In The World” fits well as an example here.


Self-Serving statements which reduce or eliminate concerns, impacts, and issues.  “No problem” is both an irritating modern phrase and an example of what someone says to calm you down when things have not gone as planned.   “We can fix this” is often viewed as a verbal symbol of Yankee ingenuity, but can also be viewed as a way to keep people calm while you figure out how to patch an iceberg sized hole in the side of your ocean liner.

Minimizing the risk or outcome of something is a time-honored practice in business and was probably started by someone in middle management who did not have the authority to solve a problem, but did not want to just admit that.


When the goal of a non-truth is to hurt someone else.  Sometimes we just say things to be mean.  Anything identifiable as gossip can go into this category.  When what is coming out of your mouth does not match what is in your head or your heart, you are probably just being mean.

You are so brave to wear last year’s style” – extra points for passive-aggressive statements such as this.


White lies, such as husbands and wives tell each other when asked about aging signs, clothing fit, and such, do not count.  You get a pass if your untruth is meant to safeguard someone’s feelings, especially when the issue at stake is relatively minor.


Lying to someone just to protect them from being uncomfortable or hurt is not a good option.  When the cost of lying is more than the cost of being truthful, choose the truth and deliver it in a respectful, kind, and direct fashion.

BTW, honest cynicism is not lying.  If I say “I don’t think that is true”, I am expressing disbelief, but not trying to misrepresent that thing.


Leaders try to avoid telling lies, even as the cost of telling the truth grows.  A leader cannot function without earning the trust of those we serves.  A leader cannot earn trust from others if they are not truthful and honest, sometimes to a fault.  

Leaders simply tell the truth … after all, when you lie to another, you are also lying to yourself. 

What have I missed or misstated in this consideration of lying and all that jazz?

Trying real hard not to tell a lie in the Heartland….  



Image:  Pinocchio by Enrico Mazzanti {PD-23} – Wikipedia in the public domain


Words Matter – Another Powerful Reason Why

Lucy and Stephen Hawking… when someone with your public profile tells others that it’s okay to mock people with disabilities, you cause enormous damage.”

Lucy Hawking responding to Katie Hopkins


Let’s turn the podium over today for a quick lesson in how to effectively express your view on an issue.

I do not know Katie Hopkins and have no idea what she might have said to provoke this response, but I sense the strength of Lucy Hawking’s reaction to her words.

Lucy’s response is forceful, passionate, humane, and polite.  Click the link below to read her letter:

Dear Katie Hopkins:  Stop Making LIfe Harder for Disabled People

Everyone else, including me, needs to read Lucy’s letter, reflect on how she talks about something very important in measured, yet powerful terms, and consider how we might communicate more like this impressive woman.

Going back to communication school and learning more in the Heartland ….


About The Environment … Earth Day 2015

SnowIf you think your daily weather is a valid measure of climate change, you can probably skip this one …

INCONSISTENCY:  I think we may have just identified part of the problem when considering how to save our planet.  For the numbers, read this:  Americans Support Principle of Environmental Protection, Divided over Policy.

A BILLION ACTS OF GREEN:  For a very big suggestion on how to honor Earth Day 2015, watch this short but powerful video:  A BILLION ACTS OF GREEN

PLANT A TREE:  For something specific to do or just to learn more about the CANOPY PROJECT, click the image below: 

LEARN MORE:  For general information about Earth Day 2015, check out THE EARTH DAY NETWORK.

Earth Day FlagYou can take action for the sake of everyone alive now or who hopes to live on this planet in the future ..or you could just keep repeating “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” under your breath and not get serious about preservation, conservation, and renewal of our natural resources.


Trying to be on the right side of science, history, and Mother Earth in the Heartland  ….


Images:,, and Wikipedia.

Status Symbols …

Sport Car“Status Symbol:  What your neighbor has two of and you don’t have one of.”

Author:  Unknown but astute

Well, most of us are familiar with the creeping sense of envy that comes from someone else having something we do not have.   Interesting that when we see someone else with something we do not have, we often then want that thing … regardless of other logic about whether we need that thing.

Entire industries depend on this very human foible … a notable example being the consumer electronics folks, who love to come up with something we did not know we wanted until we saw the ads and inhaled their heady promises of paradise reached.

This applies pretty much the same to work situations, life style choices, and all that stuff on the Wheel of Life.  It’s not just about way smarter and bendable smartphones or ever-lighter laptop/tablet/combos. 

You may be holding on to career and work-life goals simply because you see others who have attained those goals. You may engage in behaviors and have aspirations because you believe you are supposed to do or want them?  

Maybe you have trouble clearly delineating your authentic hopes and dreams, because you allow what others hope, dream, and do to sway your thinking.

So the questions to ponder today are simple:

What are you lusting after because someone else has it?

Why are you doing this to yourself?

What could you do instead?

Wondering how to get hold of the latest and greatest portable electronic communications device in the Heartland ….


Image:  From and in no way representative of the author’s dreams or desires … I’d want one in electric blue, for goodness’ sake.

Sprinkle Some of This On Me …

promo_03In order to make a dish that connects your heart to your customer’s heart, you must put your whole soul into the presentation and presentation, not just your smarts and sweat.”  (p. 92)

Bottom Line:  Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service by Chip R. Bell is not the first book I have ever read about adding some zing to our interactions with other people … However, it is one of the easiest to read and understand, and by far the most visually appealing.

I found myself with a serious case of the munchies while reading this book …

Ice cream tones, numerous cookie graphics, and repetitive stress on the metaphor of cooking, with words like “sauce” and “spice” are found throughout this book.

I was prepared to treat Chip R. Bell’s deceptively short book somewhat dismissively, since it had far less verbiage and way more pictures than I expected.  The darn thing did not fit with the other books on my shelf, which were mostly bigger and heavier from all the ink.  I should have remembered from past experience with this author that the value of his thinking has nothing to do with the size of the book or the number of words.

When you read this book (and you should read this book), you will notice several things about Chip Bell’s writing style:

Chip has a way with words and examples, using both to great effect without wasting space or time…

This book is one of the shortest I’ve read, under 100 pages and a squat 6 ¾ X 6 ¾ inches square.  It might be lost on a crowded bookcase among the larger and longer books with more “business-like” titles.  Do not dismiss this title as not worth your time, because it lacks many words and many pages.  The value is in what is said, not how much is said.

Missing this book would be a tragedy for anyone who cares about ramping up their customer service game and really having a blast serving others.

Chip uses diverse and engaging examples to make his points crystal clear …

His stories are drawn from all types of organizations, from giant corporations like Hewlett-Packard to a mom-and-pop hardware store, healthcare, retail, and fast food, from non-profit and profit, public and private,  providers of services and products.  No matter what environments you toil, you will find specific and positive examples of how to up your customer service game and stories which you will delight in retelling (with proper accreditation, of course).

Chip even draws customer service wisdom from watching a group of deer on a snowy morning, which resulted in this gem:  “Always give your customers woods at their back” (pg. 76) which relates to “accessibility” sprinkles.  You’ll have to read the book to learn more.

Chip likes Alliteration …

The “sprinkles” of the title are those specific enhancements to customer service that move us from simply great to “awesome”.   Here are the topics of every chapter in his book:    Appetizer (introductory comments), Amazement, Animation, Abundance, Ambiance, Adoration, Allegiance, Alliance, Accessible, and Adventure.  If these topics catch your interest, you will be even more engaged after you read the sections on each one.

In lesser hands, this effect might just be cutesy … when Chip does it, I appreciate the help in remembering each element of innovative customer service.

‘Sprinkles adorn, enrich, enliven, and excite.”  P. 11

Some ongoing themes in Chip’s message seem to include:

1) Unusual:   We now expect customer service to be great and when it is not, we vote with our purses and our feet.  Great customer service is not enough – we need to knock people’s socks off, then wash, pair up, and fold the customer’s socks for them.

Do what they do NOT expect us to do …

2) Unrequested:  If a customer requests special treatment, we are just meeting their expectations when we do what they ask us to do.  Ordering a particular flavor of ice cream is not awesome customer service.  Adding something special and different to the ice cream is unexpected.

Do what the customer will LOVE, not what they will ask for …

3) Inexpensive:  Awesome customer service is not about spending lots of extra money.  In a high-price hotel, customers expect to receive expensive treatment.   Awesome treatment does not need to cost more and it is not about throwing money at an experience.  Although it may take more time and work to identify and do, passionate customer is worth it.

Do what delights, not just what costs dollars …

A Few Words About  “Choice”  …

One of Chip’s stories is about a HP representative who could have stayed on script, but chose to go above and beyond to give really exceptional service.  The idea that we can choose to offer awesome service is essential to Chip’s message.

Consider your current situation.  If you can go above and beyond, then do so and amaze your customers.  However, if you are bound to a script and not allowed to deviate, even to surprise a customer, then you need to crank up your job hunt activities.

You always have a choice – if nothing else, the choice to stay or go.

“…. we remember service that comes with an experience that gives us unexpected pleasure.” (From the Introduction)

I could say much more about each part of Sprinkles, but I will spread my continued observations out through several upcoming blog posts.  This one is a keeper …

Enjoying yet another great thing in a small package in the Heartland ….


Disclaimer:  Received a review copy of this book before it’s public availability.  Imagine me sticking thumbs in ears and going “Nyah Nyah”.  Great book which needs no insincere hype from me to boost the value.