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Liar, Liar, pants on fire.

Musings from a Co-CEO ///

What is it about stretching the truth that’s so darn irresistible?

We lie to our offspring: The Tooth Fairy’s bank account is bottomless. We lie to our significant others: That softball bat/designer bag/Maserati was 25 bucks. We lie to our clients: Yes, we can handle that project. Yes, we can manage that timeline. Yes, we can accept that price.

There’s a thrill in pulling it off. A rush from the tips of our toes to the end of our Pinocchio nose. At least, until we get caught.

Your child’s heartbreak is fleeting. Eating a little crow can smooth things over with the significant other. But, man, lying sure does piss clients off.

Over the course of all of our illustrious careers, I’m sure most of us have been guilty of saying “yes” when we should have said “no.” It’s not that we wanted to mess with our reputations or put our clients in bad spots. We were simply blinded by our own shortsightedness, assuming that it’s better to say “yes” and fail, than it is to say “no” and pass up the work.

Experience—and a few slaps on the wrist—have taught us the errors of our ways. Clients much prefer vendors who are upfront about their capabilities than ones who leave them hanging out to dry. Transparency, as a buzzword, makes me want to throw something out a window. But as a concept, it’s as elevated a relationship as we could hope for.

You don’t want to be the one who screwed the client over. You want to be the one who saves the day.

And that’s no lie.