Cultures of deceit

I remember working with organizational cultures, often large companies, where there was an implicit expectation that saying no to any "superior" (on the org chart) was forbidden, if you care about your bonus, review, job or career. People would daily practice the deceit of saying yes when they mean no, and then must suffer the Catch-22 guilt of not delivering on their institutionally sanctioned deceits. What was most crazy was how clueless leaders would feel betrayed when people failed to deliver on their (fictional) promises.

The idea of authentic compliance is fraught with contradictions and costs, if authentic means personally and freely chosen. To build a culture of honesty, leaders must invite consent and dissent. Smart leaders do this all the time, and gain immeasurable social and intellectual capital. Markets notice.