Organisational Truth or ‘Anything for a quiet life’?

organisational truth

Truth. From small-to-medium enterprises to trans-global corporate goliaths, many of us are caught up in well-practised internal wranglings otherwise known as organisational politics and unspoken behavioural norms which over time can take on their own form of subtle, covert deception and in some cases full-on corruption.  Think Enron in 2001 or the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.   Working in organisations is an art form. In some it can be a continual tightrope of judgment, a finely tuned tip-toe ballet around awkward issues or difficult people in order to keep your self afloat, your powder dry and your eye on the prize. It would seem we’re prepared to live on the borders of Organisational Truth to keep ourselves in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed – and that manner is Comfort.

In many companies and enterprises Truth is habitually airbrushed at every level in order to save face with bosses, employees, boards, City analysts and shareholders. Why is it that people are reluctant to speak out when something needs to be said?  Why is so much left unsaid –  from the coffee machine to the boardroom – about what is not right, not good, not true? And this in spite of all the investment in attitude surveys, off-sites, workshops, mentoring, risk mitigation and whistleblowing policies that are meant to be in place for the purpose of knowing exactly ‘how it is’.

Truth – or lack of it – is our very own modern day organisational epidemic, starting at an individual level and moving its way inexorably up and down the hierarchy of power, enjoining others on the way until we’re all left living a lie, one we all know about, know the rules for and know is inherently wrong or displaced, but one we play out regardless.

We’re prepared to live a lesser truth for a quieter life. But the point is, life can never be quiet when it isn’t lived in Truth. But it sure is the lesser without it.

When something just doesn’t feel right, we hold that feeling in our bodies all the time the injustice or the wrong-doing is perpetrated.  When it stops and things are ‘put right’ then our bodies relax. One only has to think about a child making up a lie and finding they have to live with it, crying in relief, exhaustion and overwhelm when the truth finally comes out and the tension of the lie is over.  Living with a lie – say, from an extra-marital affair, tax evasion, theft, to cooking the books – only breeds anxiety which can build up over time into stress and then eventually into illness. So perhaps our organisational climates are unhealthy places for our bodies to be if they are not based on truth? Why would we choose to work in a toxic, repressed environment that brings us the risk of a daily dose of futility and disempowerment?  Why would we choose to not live Truth?

dictionary definition truth


Well, truth can hurt – sometimes deeply so when in the hands of the unskilful or insensitive.  But it’s also refreshingly simple when it breaks because once stated, there’s a clarity that comes with it that just can’t be ignored or argued with.  Truth just is.  Sure, the way we deliver it and the intention behind why we’re delivering it has its own impact. But when done as an observation, evidenced and felt, then it is unarguable.

What if, like Jim Carey in the film ‘Liar, Liar’, the day came when everyone turned up at work and couldn’t but speak the truth?   If our truth were told without arrogance, one-upmanship or pent-up frustration; no revenge, no bitterness, no jealousy, no comparison, no disdain.  Just an absoluteness around the truth.  How would our relationship with our bosses, our peers and those we’re ‘in charge’ of be?

Wouldn’t it be one massive relief to finally speak what you feel, what you know?  And with that truth, wouldn’t there be honesty and an opportunity for everyone to make different choices that could benefit the team, the department, the organisation, its customers, suppliers and shareholders?  Why stop there? If we all brought truth to work and in so doing the honesty that would have to follow, then our GDP, our economy and eventually the world economy would have a better chance than it does currently with its layers of national and world stage political and economic posturing.  As modern philosopher Serge Benhayon puts it, ‘True Truth is whole. It is never a part that suits without it suiting the whole equally.’¹

Try it.  It takes a bold person to stand up and stick out, and on the occasions when I have done so myself, I notice that the scaffolding holding up the positioning of the falsity, the dysfunction, just crumbles and it creates an opportunity for a new start, a new beginning, a change – if people so choose.


Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings & Revelations (1st edition, UniMed Publishing 2011)