A top executive in a public relations firm has a favorite saying for clients who are at a loss about what to reveal: "When all else fails, try the truth." In business, as in life, telling the truth—no matter the short-term consequences—is far more beneficial than getting caught in a deception. People are generally forgiving, almost to a fault. But deceive them and they will remember it for a long, long time. "Try the truth" applies to everyone in the workplace: the boss, the manager, the new employee, the client, the contractor.
- Emily Post's The Etiquette Advantage in Business
As we are being reminded of by the scandal involving a group of Olympic swimmers, telling the truth (or at least not continuing in a lie) is really the best policy. Sometimes we tell lies to protect others, sometimes we tell them to protect ourselves, but no matter the reason, there are always potential ramifications that can—and often do—come back to bite us. And by "getting ahead of the truth," you have the potential to determine exactly how you present it, giving you much more power. If you start building a culture of tactfully telling the truth with everyone on your team, you will quickly notice the benefits it will bring.