The Unconventional CEO – Get to the truth

The Unconventional CEO

Chapter 73 – When evaluating the quality of an argument, do remember that if the argument is weak, the arguer may well hide this by Shouting like Hell!

Truth is an elusive concept and there are a few human traits that will disclose it. Remember that you will be the last person to know what really goes on in the enterprise. This is because all the info you receive may well be politically packaged for someone’s benefit and it’s not necessarily for yours. Your poor PA, if you deem yourself important enough to have a gatekeeper, has an unenviable job. She knows, and may not want to tell you, what she suspects is going on. Even that may not turn out to be the whole truth.

A good rule is that the person showing the most emotion is usually bluffing. If a customer is Shouting like Hell at your staff, it is a reliable indication of who’s in the right here. Perhaps he has already signed up with somewhere else and is now blaming your product or your staff to justify his move.

A further rule is to ask the question and judge the answer by its verbosity. True answers are generally short, to the point, and offer no justification or blame. “Did that?” “No.” “Why not?” That’s a good dialogue. Be suspicious of an answer filled with lots of emotion and detail. Such as: “Of course not. I would never do a thing like that. What do you think I would do that for…?”  Let’s call this the One Breath Answer rule, because short answers are usually true and wise.

Think cui bono. Who benefits? Now that this has happened, who stands to gain? This is a tool to dissect world politics, false-flag ventures and why the coffee supplier was changed without due authorisation.

Beware the Hegelian trap: a preconceived solution that needed a situation to be devised for it to emerge as the answer. Few of us ever studied the Marxist dialect, but it is diabolically effective. Want to invade a country? Let’s set up the rebels, vilify the legitimate response and that then gives us the excuse to move in. That’s pure Hegel. Watch out.

You may be played in this way too. Want to change the coffee supplier? Let’s give the incumbent an unreasonable deadline so we cause a delivery shortage. Hegel is the outcome.

Many situations are set up to give a predetermined outcome. Do not get fooled by the closed question leading to the closed answer.


The Unconventional CEO offers succinct, compelling advice from one successful CEO Mario Pretorius, to you The Cape Messenger reader.

The book is also available to purchase in full from the Amazon store.

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