Secret #1: You get yourself in a hole – and hide it.
It turns out that Theranos was making great strides, but couldn’t actually analyze most conditions with a pin-prick by the time they were due to roll out their technology. They had sold the concept to Walgreens and Safeway, both of whom spent millions of dollars to create testing centers in their stores. But instead of keeping their partners in the loop and being candid about the delays, Theranos let them think everything was fine. Secretly, Theranos’ leadership decided to use regular commercial analyzers to do the blood analysis while trying frantically to get their device to do what they said it could.
We think we would never do what Theranos did. We would never have that lack of integrity, right? But . . . how many of us have hidden things that affected our partner?For example, how many of us have ever spent a little too much on our credit cards for Christmas, the kids’ birthday party, or that weekend away with friends—and not told our spouse about it? After all, we tell ourselves, it will only take a few months of extra payments to pay it off. Sure, that means money available for other things is reduced and our spouse doesn’t know that . . . but we’ll fix it.
Here’s the truth: Hiding uncomfortable facts about something that could affect your spouse (or business partner, or boss, or roommate) is committing relational fraud. And it will almost certainly come back to bite you—and them—eventually.
For Theranos, once the deception was made public, things quickly fell apart. Safeway and Walgreens lost their millions, the Theranos investors lost one billion, the Theranos board was disgraced (probably justified since they didn’t insist on proper accountability), the company is now defunct, and a federal grand jury indicted Holmes for fraud. Her trial is coming up.