Simon says, “Remember and own what you say, agree to, and do.”
This certainly is a recommendation in favor of honesty and integrity. Simon is not one to lie, knowingly misrepresent, or to try to squirm out of things he says, agrees to, or does. He has the PPS basics down pat and follows them seriously and conscientiously. Simon is a leader of substance and character. His point must be directed at more equivocal situations.
People think you said what they think you said, agreed to what they think you agreed to, and did what they think you did. Therein lies Simon’s opportunity. On the one hand, he can deny everything. “I never said that.” “I certainly did not agree to that.” “I did not do it.” As option one, this has the advantage of simplicity.
On the other hand, Simon can capitulate. “Although I do not remember saying that, you are undoubtedly right.” “If you think I agreed to it, then we have a deal.” “If you say I did it, then I did it.” As option two, this has the advantage of avoiding conflict.
Although simplicity has a lot going for it, option one has Simon obstinately contradicting whomever he is talking with at the time. “You are wrong and I am right.” That is possibly not his best choice, although he may very well be right. Even if he is, people will come to distrust him and he soon loses whatever credibility he may have.
Option two is no better. Simon is just going along to be going along. He does avoid conflict, at least for the moment; but he does so totally at his expense. Even worse, people will quickly come to believe Simon does not know what he said, agreed to, or did. It is but a small step to their not believing him when he says, agrees to, or does anything. His effort to avoid conflict destroys any credibility he may have.
Using options one or two only now and then is not much better. It takes longer to lose credibility, but lose it you do. In some ways, occasional use of either option is more problematic than consistent use of either. Being unpredictable in the credibility department is harder for people to deal with than dealing with Simon The Bull-headed or Simon The Spineless.
If Simon said it, agreed to it, or did it, of course, he acknowledges the fact. If he believes he did not, then he says, “That surprises me. I must be blocking on that one. Will you help me get focus? If you will, take me back to when you are talking about. You were there so help me into the picture.”
More often than you may think, the response is, “Well, I wasn’t there but so-and-so told me. . . .” Other times, you are reminded the person really is right. Once in a while, you are able to see why your words or actions were interpreted differently than you intended. Whatever the outcome, you have an opportunity to reprocess and reinterpret the event. The outcome is not necessarily better; but you normally keep your credibility and your commitment to PPS is intact.