I’ve never worked with a corporation that did not talk about the importance of trust as a critical component of a critical business asset – reputation. Yet I’ve worked with quite a few folks who failed to see the inevitable connection between outright lies and more subtle forms of deception and credibility, the basis of trust.
Lots of people wend their way through their personal relationships with the view that some lies are harmless or helpful so they label those lies as “white lies” that really don’t count as a mark against their integrity.
There are indeed some morally justifiable lies in personal relationships (though they are much more rare than the liar supposes) because their content or context does not destroy trust (e.g., “it’s a beautiful sweater grandma”, “you haven’t aged a bit!”).
In a true business context, however (such as communications with customers, vendors, suppliers, employees, stockholders, investigators and government agencies) THERE ARE NO LITTLE LIES.
If you truly treasure trust and the good reputation it can produce, remember the oath you are required to take before you testify in court: “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”