I hate keeping secrets. I believe I’m quite good at it, when I need to be – but I hate it. They say that sunlight is the best disinfectant. I’m a strong believer of that.
There are two main reasons for me holding this belief.
The first is this: keeping secrets is stressful. Every action you take, every time you speak – you have to take all the secrets you must avoid telling into account. You sometimes have to spin lies to tiptoe around the truth. You have to keep those lies consistent. The stress will eventually kill you.
The second reason is that nobody likes it when the decision is taken away from them. When you keep the truth to yourself, you are not letting others make decisions based on the truth.
Imagine speaking to your team and realising there is no way you will meet the upcoming deadline. It is still a month away, but you need at least three more months to deliver.
I’ve seen a few ways people approached this situation. Some choose to wait until the last minute, hoping for a miracle. This does not leave the client any options, and so is quite bad. Other people lie about the magnitude of the problem. They say they are off by only a month. This is even worse. Not only have you misled your client, taking away their opportunity to adjust, but you have also lost your credibility.
The best course of action, in my experience, is to tell the truth. Explain to the client that you are off by three months. Discuss the options together. Will the client be angry? Possibly. But they’ll appreciate the honesty and the opportunity to act ahead of time.
If none of the above convinced you, just remember: it’s the right thing to do. Let yourself soak in sunlight. Drench in it. Feel the weight wash off your shoulders.