Leadership can be a dirty business.
Those in power, especially in politics, will occasionally have to make tough, unpopular and in some cases, distasteful decisions. Decisions that could lead to all manner of repercussions and affect the lives of millions.
There is an infinite number of 'moving parts' in leading a country or organisation, in some cases, not dissimilar to walking a tightrope with an egg balanced on your head, whilst juggling balls and dodging bullets.
Along with the day-to-day challenge of doing their job, leaders may have to battle to stay at the top, keep a watchful eye on the competition (including so-called 'friends') and position their antenna to alert them when 'unknown unknowns' become known.
All this can create a 'pressure cooker' situation, prompting some leaders to use the age old trick of being economical with the facts, distorting the evidence or engaging in outright deception, when faced with a political or corporate crisis.
In the full glare of the world's media and the increasing influence of social media-powered citizens, leaders are having to account more publicly for what they've done, are doing and are going to do.
Many are prepared to go to extreme lengths to cover up a bad decision and preserve their reputation.
All this and more is covered in John Mearsheimer's fascinating book, 'Why Leaders Lie: The Truth About Lying In International Politics'.
Professor Mearsheimer's title is primarily focused on the United States - but that doesn't take away from the wider context of lying in global politics, business, technology, law, health and society in general.
It's been out for a few years, but, given the revelations that pop up virtually on a daily basis, the content is still depressingly relevant.
Here's a bonus presentation from McCann Truth Central.
Let's face it: these days, it's not enough to say how good you are at something.
Anyone can make a bold claim on why they're the best.
Increasingly, you, me and they have to prove it.
Trust - or the lack thereof - is a global issue of concern.
Screaming headlines from newspapers in developed nations pontificating about corrupt third world dictatorships (and why aid should be cut) ring hollow in the face of the scandals that have rocked the majority of industrialized economies.
Trust (see the video below), is not a problem that only affects somewhere far, far, away.
It doesn't matter how massive your advertising budget is, how glossy your corporate social responsibility brochure is, how slick your presentation on ethics, values and ethos or how substantial the amount of money you publicly donate to a worthwhile cause, you have to be prepared for a deeper level of scrutiny...
There's always someone, somewhere - be it a competitor, client, colleague or commentator ready and eager to challenge a mission statement, press release or public comment - all-too-often in the full glare of the social media spotlight.
Building trust isn't always easy, but it's a straightforward process, as illustrated below.
I was doing some research recently - for my forthcoming ebook, 'How To Turn A Bad Relationship Good and Make A Good One Better' - and started thinking about the connection between dishonesty and reputation.
We've all read or heard about situations where there's been a clear cut case of someone lying through their teeth and getting found out. I can immediately conjure up more than a dozen politicians, business leaders, celebrities and public officials in this category.
But instances where someone has committed a truly outrageous crime and tried to cover it up before being publicly exposed and held up to hatred, ridicule or contempt, are thankfully rare.
An educated guess suggests that the vast majority of people (dare I say 'everybody'), tells lies - from white lies and half-truths, all the way to total distortions of reality. These departures from the truth - especially when they can be challenged externally - could ultimately undermine a person's (or organisation's) credibility and contribute to negative perceptions about their reputation.
I came across the video (below), voiced by Dan Ariely, a behavioural economist and bestselling author of 'The Upside of Irrationality' and 'Predictably Irrational'.
It's definitely worth a watch.
By the way, Dan Ariely has written a book which explores the subject in greater depth.
You can read an excerpt here.
Thoughts on customer service, communication and, of course, reputation management.