Can you be truthful and candid at the same time? (Part 1 of 2) by Roz Usheroff

Posted on August 28, 2013


Editor’s Note: Given our recent focus on the subject of negotiation by way of my interview with Keld Jensen and yesterday’s guest post by Andy Akrouche, it seemed only logical to share with you this article from The Remarkable Leader Blog by Roz Usheroff on the differences between truth and candor.

More specifically, and within the context of coming to the negotiation table, can you be truthful in contract negotiations without being candid?

Truth and Trust2

Generally, investors assess a company’s performance by studying key financial metrics. But another useful strategy, according to Rittenhouse Rankings, is to study the language rather, than just looking at the numbers.

from the August 7th, 2013 7/24 Wall Street article “The Least Candid Companies”

I have to admit that I had never considered the truth and candor question prior to reading the above article ̶ at least not from the standpoint of contemplating the differences between the two.

According to the 7/24 Wall Street article, one might presume that providing the numbers regarding a company’s performance is viewed as being truthful. Conversely, what you say (or don’t say) about those numbers is deemed to be equally if not more important because it reflects a candid explanation as to what said numbers actually mean.

According to the dictionary, truthful is defined as telling or being conformed to the truth. It also means corresponding with reality.

Being candid is defined as being frank; outspoken; open and sincere. It also means to be free from reservation, disguise, or subterfuge; straightforward.

So here is the question; is being truthful the same as being candid? Are the two mutually inclusive or exclusive?

Let’s say that you discover that as part of a yet-to-be-announced layoff, some of your co-workers, whom you also consider to be friends, are soon going to be out of a job? Would you keep silent? What if you found out that one of your co-workers was about to purchase a new car based on the belief that his/her job was secure? Would you then say something?

By not being candid, are you still being truthful in terms of your relationship with your co-worker? Conversely, if you were to tell your co-worker about their being laid off, are you being true to the best interests of your company?

The above example is certainly not out of the realms of possibility as illustrated by the story of one of my clients – I will call him Kevin (which of course is not his real name).

Kevin was recently informed by the President of his company that his department was being downsized. Despite this bad news, his spirits were lifted by an offer from the President to assume the position of Vice President at another division within the organization. This was a big promotion. The only problem was tied to the fact that he had to keep this information confidential until it was officially announced. This meant that he could not tell his present boss ̶ a person who had been both a huge champion and mentor of his ̶ about the layoffs. What made the situation even more difficult is that with the downsizing of his department, his boss was going to be asked to take a package and leave the company. If you were Kevin, what would you do?

The answer to these questions rests within your core values.

So what are core values?

In part 2 of today’s post I will talk about core values and how the creation of a Personal Mission Statement can help you to successfully deal with everyday contradictions in your work and life.

Roz 3D Book Cover

In my new book The Future of You! Creating Your Enduring Brand, I talk about the differences between truth and candor, including the framework for identifying the core values that serve as the cornerstone for your Personal Mission Statement. Order your copy today through my website, or Smashwords.


Posted in: Commentary