Business Snake Detector


With a Big Smile and a hand stretched out, customers are greeted as if they are long lost cousins.

Sound like the used car sales guy of the 1950″s?  Perhaps, but still fairly typical today in many cases.  So how does one assess the honesty of a business executive, sales representative, customer service or anyone we meet in a business setting?  From one academic source, liars with evil intent may display some of the following traits:

  • There will likely be physical signs.
  • They’ll repeat the same story over and over.
  • They’ll be oddly chronological.
  • They’ll speak more eloquently.
  • They’ll drop or change pronouns.
  • Their sentences may be full of qualifiers.

We teach our children to beware of strangers–Stranger Danger!  However, have you ever seen a very young child recoil when something does not seem just right?  In this pundit opinion, babes are born with an understanding that not everyone is a good guy.  This innate situational awareness (0pen this link, it is a wealth of information regarding personal safety) is in all of us.

I have always loved this song.  It has a very clear message.  a snake is a snake is a snake.  So it is with business snakes.  Their spots will not change.

How many of us have lost corporate political battles to outright liars?  All, I suspect.  Some interesting approaches towards deal with liars include:

Copying Tips

  1. Be on guard and prepare
  2. Keep records
  3. Keep the focus on the relationship
  4. Know not to trust behavior in the heat of the moment
  5. Ignore them
  6. Be patient
  7. Don’t feel the need to call them out on everything

Confronting the Liar

  1. Offer a way out before you address the lie
  2. Disrupt the habit over and over
  3. Allude to their lying patterns
  4. Suggest therapy

Understanding the Liar

  1. Know the difference between a pathological liar and a scumbag
  2. Understand why they lie
  3. Know they may hate who they actually are
  4. Take care of yourself

The world is full of liar, criminals and other miscreate.  The organizational world is a mirror of any society, so set your expectations accordingly.  Moreover, as we know from cyber crime and scams evil does evolve.  Make your your snake detector evolves as well.

How do you know if some seeks to take advantage of you or your organization?

For More Information

Please note, RRI does not endorse or advocate the links to any third-party materials herein.  They are provided for education and entertainment only.

See our Economic Value Proposition Matrix® (EVPM) for additional information and a free version to build your own EVPM.

The author’s credentials in this field are available on his LinkedIn page.  Moreover, Dr. Shemwell is a coauthor of the just published book, “Smart Manufacturing: Integrating Transformational Technologies for Competitiveness and Sustainability.”  His focus is on Operational Technologies.

“People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other.” (Martin Luther King speech at Cornell College, 1962).  For more information on Cross Cultural Engagement, check out our Cross Cultural Serious Game.  You can contact this author as well.

For more details regarding climate change models, check out Bjorn Lomborg ands his latest book, False Alarm: How Climate Change Panic Costs Us Trillions, Hurts the Poor, and Fails to Fix the Planet.

Regarding the economics of Climate Change, check out our blog, Crippling Green.

For those start-up firms addressing energy (including renewables) challenges, the author can put you in touch with Global Energy Mentors which provide no-cost mentoring services from energy experts.  If interested, check it out and give me a shout.

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