When honesty is the best business

For the book, I could use more examples of companies — or institutions or politicians — who have learned that honesty pays off. I have a few too many media examples: 1. Stern, Stewart, Colbert calling bullshit; 2. Reuters photo flap vs. Rather stonewalling. The Dell story is clearly already in there. What are examples you have of honesty as good business? Thanks!

  • A very bad situation with Wells Fargo blogged about here: http://www.iconnectdots.com/ctd/2008/05/wells-fargo-aut.html

    The EVP’s immediate response, *no excuses, mea culpa* and followup was amazing: http://www.iconnectdots.com/ctd/2008/05/wells-fargo-doi.html

  • Adrian

    we had a case in the UK when the Daily Mirror published fake pictures of soldiers mistreating PoWs in Iraq. As soon as it was clear they were fakes they fired the editor, Piers Morgan.

  • Adam

    Ha! Good luck finding an example of an honest politician. Especially one being rewarded for that honesty.

    One good example of honesty paying off; the baseball steroid scandal. The players who stood up immediately after being discovered and took responsibility (Giambi, Petitt, etc.) were vindicated by the fans and the media. As for the players who have maintained their innocence despite heaps of evidence (Bonds, Clemens, etc.) have had their hall of fame careers all but destroyed.

    Of course, neither of those players has been found guilty yet.

  • mek

    How about Obama writing about his past drug use? He was honest, upfront, and the media never took a whiff of the story.

    In fact, his transparency is a great example of laying it all out, and even if one judges him, it’s quick and pretty painless (e.g., tax returns, health status, etc.).

  • william elbel

    On Honesty vs Steroids:

    What BULLS**T on Steroid perjury convictions.
    Why don’t they get a conviction on real crimes first before perjury?

    Why should someone have to admit taking steroids before any jury.
    I thought one could take the Fifth amendment for any testimony venue but I surmise that is invoking the fifth is not allowed in Grand Jury testimony. If so what BULLS**T

  • Rob K

    Although I am reluctant to give any in the airline industry props since their service is generally so bad, the JetBlue CEO did admit that the service during this delay was terrible and embarrassing.

  • You blogged about it… Jet Blue’s response to its JFK fiasco.

  • right now I’m posting about Twitter admitting (in their blog) that their service is structured like Ethernet-cabled 486 machines — and why this is good. (the communication involved, of course.) it’s a pretty fresh example, but I think it fits.

  • See Charlie Beckett on BBC’s apologies http://www.charliebeckett.org/?p=652

  • just for research purposes you might historically look to how product recalls were managed. I have a sense that it might reflect some of the themes you are looking at here. I think Rackspace had a huge “outage” a few months back and they fessed up fast, on twitter as well. I think it helped calm the situation. Actually, how companies handle outages (i.e. Utility companies) might provide more empirical evidence, as might looking at general “returns policies” (Norstrom?) Again, it might provide grounding.

  • Eric R

    The classic recall/honesty situation was Johnson and Johnson’s handling of Tylenol tampering. It’s taught in all of the B-schools (for what that’s worth).

    I also recall recent hamburger/meat recalls (I think the Wendys chain…not sure) where publications like Business Week were lauding praise on the company.

  • Erwin

    woot.com – always honest about what they’re selling & real “cult” following developing

  • Erwin,
    Say more, please.

  • Nate