In this day and age of the 24-hour new cycle and investigative reporting, little is left to privacy. As such, it is critical for every organization to understand that all things concealed will inevitably be exposed, and have the potential to tarnish or even destroy a carefully built reputation.

This is why at Red Banyan Group, we always advise our clients to above all else – ALWAYS tell the truth. Transparency is key to building trust with your target audiences. And yes, crises will happen — no organization is immune to them – but it is imperative that honest and upfront communication be established as soon as possible. If people don’t hear the truth from you, they will hear it from somebody else. And once trust is lost, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to rebuild.

No story exemplifies this important point better than this week’s hottest story of Rachel Dolezal, the former president of Spokane chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Dolezal has been all over national news this past week, after her parents told reporters that their daughter has been falsely presenting herself as being of mixed race when she, in fact, was born to white parents. Dolezal, they claimed, has been lying to both her friends and the NAACP for over a decade.

Dolezal’s story sparked a national debate over the issues of race and identity perception. However, at its core, this is a simple issue of honesty. As a high-ranking official, entrusted with representing her organization, Dolezal had the responsibility to do so with honesty and integrity. Instead, she created an intricate web of lies, naively thinking that she would never get caught up in it.

On the Banyan blog and to our clients, we’ve repeated time and time again: in today’s media saturated environment, the truth always comes out, one way or another. In business and personal life alike, it is always important to build your foundation on solid ground; for when it comes to speaking the truth, the decision is always black and white.