Is it right; is it fair; is it honest?


Scott Pelley is an anchor for CBS News and a correspondent for 60 Minutes, the CBS news program. In a recent interview, Pelley outlined his values in reporting the news, “My values in reporting are very simple; I really sum it up in three words: Is it right, is it fair, is it honest in terms of the gathering of information and the presentation of that information. That’s a very simple rule, but it’s very hard to do.”

What a terrific set of values for every dealing with people! Often, we might struggle knowing how to act, what to say, or what to do in normal, everyday dealings with people. We might be wondering if their motives are correct or if they can be trusted. We might wonder if they seek good or evil for us. We might not know how open we can be or if we should be tentative around them. There might be dozens of thoughts racing through our minds as we meet and interact with those in our circle every day. However, Pelley’s set of values might help us sort through all those confusing possibilities. By deciding upfront our values and what we believe in dealing with others, we no longer have to make decisions on how to interact under the pressure of the moment. If we determine that no matter what, we will treat others right, fairly, and honestly, it takes much of the guesswork out of our behaviors. When we adopt this or a similar set of values toward others, our default should always be to treat them right, fairly, and honestly. No more wondering and no more guessing. We have decided ahead of time how we’ll treat others.

So, what do Pelley’s three values really mean? Here are my thoughts:

  • Is it right? – To me, this means simply, “What is the right thing to do? What is the decent or kind thing to do?” We should treat people the way we ourselves want to be treated. This probably means we should be open, welcoming, collaborative, and helpful. We should treat others in a way that we would be unashamed if our spouse, kids, or neighbors witnessed it themselves.
  • Is it fair? – To me, this means, “Am I unbiased? Am I open to their thoughts, ideas, and input? Am I treating them equally? Am I giving others opportunities I would appreciate if the table was turned?” Fairness is merely giving everyone an equal chance to be heard, to contribute, and to participate fully.
  • Is it honest? – To me, this means, “Can I be trusted? Are my motives pure? Am I truly seeking the best for everyone? Would this person want to deal with me again?” Being honest simply means that we treat others truthfully and without deceit.

Certainly, there are other values that we could adopt when dealing with others, such as kindness, compassion, and encouragement. I think the point is that by defining in advance the values by which you seek to treat others, your dealings will eventually shift toward those values. And, in the process, you will develop better and closer relationships with those with whom you interact.

Have a fabulous day! Do something special for someone else today!


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