As America rewrites its political playbook, we are alternately bemused and alarmed by the way in which phrases like Fake News and Alternative Facts have jumped into our jargon. And by the widespread acceptance they are gaining,
Savvy business leaders have long noted that the idea of telling the same mistaken story over and over will make it so or manipulating facts to fit a particular position aren’t confined to the political arena.
Bernie Madoff peddled fake news. Brian Williams altered facts as he wrote and spoke about his journalistic exploits. Their transgressions were high profile and captured national attention, but represent only the tip of the fact-fudging iceberg that drifts through the corporate environment, mostly relating to the educational accomplishments of individuals. Consider these examples:
- Sandra Baldwin, former president and chairman of the U. S. Olympic Committee. According to a New York Times report she claimed for years to hold a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado and a doctorate from Arizona State. When a student was assigned to interview her for an alumni publication, it turned out her bachelor’s came from Arizona State after she had studied only three years at Colorado, and she never got around to finishing her doctoral dissertation.
- One of Yahoo’s past CEOs, Scott Thompson, provided a resume when appointed in January, 2012 that showed degrees in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College. A hedge fund shareholder investigated Thompson’s background and found he had a degree only in accounting – not computer science. By May, 2012, Thompson was gone.
- In 2007, 28 years after MIT had appointed Marilee Jones its dean of admissions, the venerable institution discovered that not only had she not earned the undergraduate or master’s degrees she had claimed, but never received any college degree at all. Jones admitted the deception and resigned, explaining that she “did not have the courage” to correct her resume when she applied for the job she held for nearly three decades.
The business world takes very seriously false claims of educational achievement, even though there seems to be little evidence, as is the case of Marilee Jones, that lack of any degree is an automatic deterrent to success. Rather, the instances uncovered suggested, as the hedge fund manager who blew the whistle on Yahoo’s CEO Scott wrote Yahoo’s Board, that claiming credentials relevant to one’s position “1) undermines his credibility as a technology expert and 2) reflects poorly on the character of the CEO who has been tasked with leading Yahoo! at this critical juncture.”
Each incident of this kind requires thought and action from the employee involved and from the management structure – from Board member to immediate supervisors – as to the resolution that best serves the individual and the organization. The literature is replete with instances where a management or Board decided to keep a key employee even after word of resume inflation had become public. Jeffery Papows, for example, president of IBM’s Lotus, fibbed about his academic and military background. He claimed to have been a military pilot but was actually an air traffic controller. He said he was a Captain in the Marines when military records showed he was a Second Lieutenant. He cited a doctorate from Pepperdine that had really been issued by an unaccredited correspondence school, according to reporting by ZDNet. He kept his job, though later resigned after being named in a sexual discrimination complaint. Other CEOs and key employees have remained in their positions successfully, with some foregoing bonuses or making payments to the employer as punishment.
Like MIT, which took 28 years to verify resume claims, time is challenge for businesses of all types in assuring prospective employees are who and what they claim. A CareerBuilder survey of 2,188 human resource professionals found that more and more people are lying on their resumes today. It’s not hard to identify some of the exaggerations, like the candidate who claimed 25 years’ experience at age 32 or who filed two applications for the same position, listing different work histories on each. But other, especially older claims, are hard to verify and chew up large blocks of time, which is why some errors and more inflations slip through.
This is where the inverted organization structure of VALiNTRY – putting others before ourselves – becomes important. Our goal is to be counted among those companies that put their customers first by empowering their front-line employees to deliver extraordinary service and unparalleled experience. It may be why, because we are focused on your field, there may be both financial and security value in drawing from employment or staffing candidates whose aspirations and experience we can match closely with your current needs and longer range plans.
People service ranks high among VALiNTRY’s Values – we don’t deal in cookie cutters or cattle calls – we are dedicated to enriching and serving our clients, our employees and one another. We were founded in 2013 by staffing industry veterans to provide consulting services throughout the United States. VALiNTRY’s 100% U. S. based recruitment team is changing the game in IT, Healthcare, Marketing, Finance/Accounting and CPA contracting and consulting. We’ve been living our dedication in a way that has led to our growth to three offices, in Orlando, Nashville and Dallas, staffed by members of a single team sharing the same values, vision, and real life experience.
Here is how we state our core values, each preceded by the typographical sign that reflects our commitment to placing our clients and consultants/contractors before ourselves, with management at the bottom of the priority list:
- People Service – enriching and serving our clients, our employees and one another.
- Accountability – being accountable and responsible to commitments and results.
- Teamwork – working together to support our team for the greater good.
- Honesty and Integrity – doing the right things the right way.
- Innovation — pushing beyond our comfort zones to seek new solutions for ourselves/clients.
- Transparency – always sharing the “why” and the ”outcomes” of things we do.