Aspects of Truthfulness

June 5, 2020
2 minute read
This is a more philosophical aspect of Agile.  When I read this again to include it here, I was nicely surprised that I re-learned something from it.  Amazing what a good conversation can do!  I’m also reminded that when we talk about values, we are always aspiring to something that we can probably never do perfectly in all its explicit and implicit dimensions.  Although this article is short, it feels comprehensive in that it provides clear boundaries around the concept of truthfulness.

I had a fantastic discussion this weekend while on a road trip with my colleague David Parker (another Agile coach).  We talked about the different aspects of Truthfulness.  This is what we came up with.


Are you perfectly honest?  Is every statement you make factually correct to the best of your knowledge?

Behaviours that are not honest include: hyperbole and exaggeration, sarcasm, falsehoods, omissions.

Honesty is the quality most obviously associated with Truthfulness.


When you make a commitment, do you keep it?  Are your deeds an accurate reflection of your words and thoughts?

Behaviours that erode integrity include hypocrisy, unreliability, lateness.


When someone wants to know something can they find it out from you?  Can you provide simple proof of your words and deeds?

Behaviours that prevent transparency include stonewalling, passing the buck, verbal diarrhea, and the use of esoteric or inappropriate jargon.


Do you accept that the unexpected is natural?  Have you given up trying to control your environment?

Things that block serenity are anxiety and worry, reactionary anger, backstabbing, and manipulation.


Do you accept that others have wisdom, knowledge and experience that you don’t?  Can you admit both the possibility of being wrong, and the fact of being wrong?

There are many things that prevent the development of humility: taking offence from comments about yourself, your ideas or your actions, insisting on your way, vanity, boasting, and even ostentatious self-deprecation.


[This article was originally published on Agile Advice on 29-Jun-2009]

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