[News] Why honesty really matters in business

As the finish line for the working year heaves into view, I suspect there are many with very mixed feelings about what is to come.

Jessica Irvine in her latest column declared she is having a “YOLO” summer break. I learnt this stood for You Only Live Once. Clearly not a fan of the James Bond franchise then.

How it might look to have a YOLO summer.Credit:Dionne Gain

Irvine argued the future is inherently uncertain, those on fixed-term mortgages are in for a shock in 2023 and economists haven’t the foggiest idea how humans will respond. (Well, I might be wording her up a tad on that last point.)

In fact, it is probably truer to say that humans haven’t the foggiest idea how economists make decisions, and the Reserve Bank board members do not seem to know how they make its decisions. They still seem to be struggling with the apology they owe to us all, when they announced interest rates would not likely rise until 2024. It was apparently only a “best guess”. And this is the point.

Predictions are never any more than a best guess. The trouble is, if those tasked to lead and manage us into a prosperous future admit they are working on “best guesses”, we might reasonably recalibrate (to use a good economics term) our confidence in these institutions.

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Generally speaking, it seems an unfortunate aspect of many careers, that soul-baring honesty is rarely given the credit it deserves. For instance, if you were the head of tourism, you’d be all about putting shrimps on the barbecue, and asking where the devil are you? What nobody in that role is going to do, is to complain about bloody tourists.

Except for Malcolm Bell, chief executive of Visit Cornwall, a tourism organisation presumably devoted to promoting the charms of this part of the United Kingdom. Bell was reported this week as saying “visitors fall into five unofficial categories, at one level you have friends, then you have guests, then you have tourists, then you have bloody tourists, then you have f—ing emmets. You can quote me on that”.

For those lacking Cornish, an “emmet” has been usefully defined by the same news website as “the nickname Cornish people refer to non-Cornish people and, more specifically, tourists to the county; also known as incomers, blow-ins, grockles (if you’re a Devonshire person living in Cornwall, which is a dangerous thing to be), second home owners or other words unprintable on a family-friendly website.”

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