As I mentioned from previous blog posts before, I recently finished watching The Dropout and it dawned on me how our culture increasingly pitting integrity against the risk of appearing incompetent, or failing. It is precisely the desire to appear successful, smart, competent that led to an escalating series of lies. And it is not just Theranos, or Silicon Valley, but all around us.
In our bid to convince others of our competence, are we overreaching in terms of how we represent our capabilities? Do we give in to the pressure from competitors, from imaginary rivals that we have to claim more, aim higher, push further, and hustle? Are our actions adding to the culture or detracting from it? Why do we want to take action to fuel a culture we don’t agree with? Or maybe we do?
Window-dressing of accounts, creative accounting, greenwashing, and to some extent many PR campaigns are all corporate techniques at maximising the short-term at the expense of the society, or the consumer, or the longer term corporate selves. We don’t have to choose between integrity and incompetence, we should not allow corporatism and capitalism to force that choice upon us.