Dear Member February 25 - It wasn't my truth to tell

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I was recently struck by a story one of my daughters shared with me regarding her friend and an experience that had happened to this friend awhile back. When I asked my daughter why she hadn't told me earlier she replied, "It wasn't my truth to tell." Those words struck a heavy chord with me, since every day at the Chamber we are faced with others' truths and are bound by confidentialities to our members. This is something we take very seriously. All individuals, businesses, governments, and organizations, are faced with a need for varying degrees of information in order to operate their businesses successfully. They must rely heavily on other people's knowledge and observations in order to make the best decisions possible. Maintaining those confidentialities is a critical part of good business practices. 

However, that door can swing both ways, sometimes raising more questions than answers when confronted with ethical decisions. Nothing is ever straight forward. What do you do when you see a business getting the old "bait and switch" or being sold a false bill of goods? To further complicate things, what if the person is a friend or someone you know? You can't make unfounded accusations based on speculations or hearsay. So, do you call them out? Do you look the other way? Do you think about what's going to work best for you? Do you weigh the situation based on the harm? No doubt there is no straight forward answer and when there are personal relationships attached to the situation there are further complications altering your perceptions of the situation. 

In small communities' chances are you have a long standing relationship with either or both of the parties. As a matter of fact, chances are you've raised your children together, attend the same church, or civic groups, and have friends in common. Does that change anything? Of course, it does. Because in order to alter the outcome you have to put yourself out there, perhaps throwing yourself into the line of fire. That's why corporations have policies and processes in place to protect employee's. But, in small business you rely on your instincts and your own moral compass. Remember, not everyone knows what you know or sees what you see. A lot of other people have already bought that line of goods; previous buyers often don't want to be wrong and they especially don't want to look foolish. For small businesses their only line of defense against unethical business practices is to hope that have a circle of associates with the ability and enough insight to discern whose truth it is to tell, and with the backbone to do something about it when action is appropriate. 

"The world will not be destroyed by evil but by those who stand by and watch, and do nothing." Elbert Einstein.

Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.

Peggy White 
Executive Director 
Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce 
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