Truth Activism as a path to growth


Agency News

Published by

Fiona Couper



The book is the warning that business leaders must act now, to challenge the status quo and to become Truth Activists, creating a new social contract to deliver future growth.

‘It is business’ job to build society’ and ‘short-termism is over’ are just a couple of the highlights from our breakfast event on 20th October, where VCCP Business strategist Simon Jones and Alan Watkins discussed their new book, Lie-Ability, as they outlined Truth Activism as the path for growth.

Their provocation is that with the distortion of truth and alternative facts all around us, the status quo must change. And with more CEOs dismissed for ethical lapses than for financial performance or board struggles[1], they put forward that now is the time to counteract the seven deadly lies, including short-termism.

They argued that cycle of distrust fuelled by Government and Media[2], means even greater expectations of business to lead and address societal problems, be that climate, economic or workforce related.

What’s required is systemic change, at the heart of which lies the ESG agenda.  It takes business leaders and other emboldened warriors for truth to be knowledgeable of the facts, to be forthright in speaking up and offering a contrary view – and for businesses to create a safe space for those championing what’s right and fair to be heard.

With memorable turns of phrase, Alan and Simon outlined practical steps towards a more relevant economic and corporate system. From applying the ‘CRAAP’ test to ensure currency and authority to what we’re being told, to ‘HACK’ steps to ensure Honesty and Kindness, their ask is for business to grow up and build society.

They went on to talk about the need for a collaborative effort, across industries to reach a shared truth based on ‘we’ not ‘I’ - which will come from questioning and radical transparency. A culture shift is required. And whilst there are shoots of a move towards a more compassionate and kinder world, they questioned if we are moving fast enough. 

Their conclusion: Truth Activists can be the challengers for hastening the change required.

With thanks to both Simon and Alan for such a thought-provoking discussion. Their book, Lie-Ability, was published on 30th November.

About the authors

Alan Watkins is the CEO and founder of Complete – a consultancy that specialises in developing exceptional leadership globally through individual and team development. Alan has written ten books including Step Change: The Leader’s Journey (Routledge, 2022) Innovation Sucks! Time to Think Differently co-authored with Simon May (Routledge, 2021) and HR (R)Evolution: Change the Workplace, Change the World co-authored with Nick Dalton (Routledge, 2020).

Simon Jones is a lead consultant with VCCP Business, delivering strategic counsel in international relations, communications, crisis communications and reputation management for governments, corporations, and individuals around the world. Over the last 20 years he has advised chief executives and chairs of global organisations, in addition to managing complex and global communications campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands.