In the movie, “Six of a Kind” W.C. Fields plays the sheriff, known as Honest John. When asked how he got the name he goes into a long, rambling story about how as a bartender one of his customers used to take out his glass eye and put in it a tumbler of water. One night he forgot to take it out of the water and when he came in the next morning gave it back to him and “Ever since that day I’ve been known as Honest John.”
I tell this story because I’ve noticed that when people have to say how honest, ethical or of high integrity they are it means to watch out, something isn’t right. Like Honest John, they think that doing the right thing once makes them special. Just don’t look behind the big green curtain.
The following are some examples of what I mean. Maybe I’m sensitive because in the last six months I’ve seen a few of these types of behaviors. I’m hoping and guessing that it will reverse itself.
- We want to be transparent – we’re hiding something and you’ll never find it.
I have high integrity – believe what I say, not what I do.
I’ll answer every question you have – but won’t give complete answers (and that’s not lying, is it?).
Everything is done in good faith – we have faith we’ll come out on top.
I have high ethical standards – just not compared to what society believes are high standards.