“What Harm Is Deception If It Protects Truth“ – Negotiation Tip of the Week

“Don’t argue with those that traffic in deception – they have alternative truths. When you must, only deal with them to avoid harm.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click to Tweet)

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“What Harm Is Deception If It Protects Truth“

There’s an adage that states, liars’ figure, but figures don’t lie. In a puritan environment, that may be true. But that’s not where we reside. The environment we live in is one where liars figure to make their deception align with the truth. In so doing, some see themselves as protecting facts as they would want others to perceive them. By any other name, the potential harm they cause is called deception. From their perspective, the question, what harm is deception if it protects the truth, is answered based on what they’re protecting and whose version of reality one wishes to promote.  

When dealing with people that practice deception, be wary of their intent. The truth will be what they’re attempting to conceal. Once you’re aware of what they’re trying to hide, only then can you deal with hidden problems. To do so otherwise could be trading in false transactions. Consider the following to assess and determine what path to adopt when dealing with those that traffic in deception. 


What’s the credo of those involved?

Whether it’s the military’s, leave no man (person) behind, or police officers’ blue wall of silence, the credos of those institutions influence the mindset of its members. And it suggests how they should respond or act in certain situations. Therein lies the hidden ground for the sly shiftiness in which deception can be rooted. Therein also lies the mindset that can promote deceit. Thus, the credo of an entity should be your starting point to uncovering the truth about the primary values held by those institutions. By following that thought, you’ll increase your understanding of what motivates someone’s actions.  

Power Alignments:

  • What are the power alignments? In every organization, power alignments exist. You should explore those alignments. That’ll give you insights about how you might address those powers, and shed light on what you may well have to overcome to avert or defeat them. In some cases, when a crisis is in progress, depending on the strength of the alliance, the cohesiveness of the coalition can be deflated by verbally confronting the group’s leader. At other times, it may be more prudent to pick off lower-ranking members of the alliance to isolate the leader. In either case, take note of a power’s make-up to determine how to compete against it.
  • What sources of power are behind deceit? That is a pertinent question to pose because it addresses the undercurrent of why deception may exist. Consider also asking yourself what you’re not seeing or what’s not being voiced by your adversaries. Observing what’s shown and said can be less valuable than what’s not shown or mentioned. While there may be factions within a power base, there may also be ideological fractures or other lines that bond it’s members to one another. If you’re aware of those factions and the dividing points that separate them within their alignment, you’ll have other aspects from which to chip away at their power sources.  

Juking Stats:

  • Who is protecting whom, and why? You may be familiar with the phrase “alternative facts.” It’s a paradigm stating that things may not be as they appear, or one that suggests you should observe a situation from another point of view. In either case, some in power will juke stats to reflect a perspective that’s more favorable to their viewpoint. In most cases, that’s done to endure one’s self to others and enhance that person’s following, which extends his influence. Be concerned when you partake of someone juking stats. They’re attempting to alter reality. In so doing, they’re trying to change your perspective from what you perceive reality to be to what they would have you believe. Therefore, when confronted by such situations, ask yourself, are you going to trust your truthful eyes or their lying mouth. The answer to that question will lead to enlightenment or one that could lead you deeper into a demon’s pit – which later exposes the beast of despair that lies there. Choose your decision wisely. 
  • What will members of a group do to protect one another? As mentioned in the section that discussed credos, some members of an organization will go to extremes to protect the leader of the group or to those that they pledge their loyalty. The degree to which that’s applied can also indicate the strength of the leader and what he demands of his followers.

Times have occurred throughout history when followers committed unsavory acts to appease a leader. Thus, based on the promises of the leader, some have willingly given their life for the better aftermath that they were told awaited them. When observing a crisis in the making, seek the lessons of history and understand the psychology behind alliances. That will be the key to unlocking a member’s will, which will give you a better perspective about why some will do anything and perform any act to stay in good favor with those that lead them.

Always assess the passion and commitment that members of any organization have for their superiors. Because it can become the illumination that shown brightness upon an otherwise hidden entanglement in which deceit may lie. And therein will lie why some will juke stats to keep their followers aligned with them to perpetuate their leadership. 


Most of the time, people deceive others for protection. And that protection is usually based on the embellishment or furtherance of one’s self-aggrandizement. Therefore, the more insight you have about those that oppose you and their sources of motivation, the better you’ll be at confronting and averting crises. That also means that you’ll become better positioned to curtail crises in their early stages. That will give you greater control within your ranks and in those that oppose you … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

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