The Truth, The Whole Truth

CEO David Alterman Reflects on the delicate balance between transparency and ambiguity

The sad news of King Charles’ cancer diagnosis has been accompanied by a sadder debate about whether he and his advisors should be applauded for being open about his diagnosis, or criticised for issuing vague information, which leaves everyone guessing his true state of health.

Waters have been muddied further by the definitive information about one type of Cancer it isn’t – prostate – arguably a disease that is more treatable than many other cancers.

This got me thinking more broadly about ‘telling the truth, the whole truth’, for example in the challenges facing brands to manage a narrative when it comes to their sustainability or broader purpose driven credentials.

So many brand owners can’t decide whether to ‘stick’ or ‘twist’. Do you go full B Corp but risk the wrath of environmental campaigners should you mis-step at all?

Or do you say less – set your communication goals at a more modest level – and risk being criticised as rudderless or failing to have purpose or ambition.

We see the same thing in politics. Labour have pulled back from their £28 billion green economy aspiration because the state of the economy means they probably can’t afford it.   Would have they been better advised making vaguer statements about green aspirations, but risk getting accused of failing to provide sufficient detail?

And as an Employee Owned Business The Nursery has promised full transparency to all our partners (colleagues) on every aspect of the business (except salaries). And we are working really hard to fulfil this commitment. But if we do fail to share some information does that invalidate the aspiration in the first place?

The truth, or the whole truth – that as they say is the question.