Making decisions using Esse Quam Videri

 Esse Quam Videri

Kingsbury Grammar School – Esse Quam Videri

This was my old grammar school motto.

Esse quam videri is a Latin phrase meaning “To be, rather than to seem (to be)”. More on the meaning and history of the phrase can be found on Wikipedia here.

It is an interesting phrase, encouraging a level of integrity in everything that we do.

Usefully, it also allows us a way to assess behaviours in others because this Latin phrase can be inverted as follows; Videri quam esse, meaning “To seem to be, rather than to be.”

So, when I am selling an idea or project scope; or listening to a presentation from others, this handy reversible phrase is a useful checkpoint, particularly around the time any project decision is made.

That is when I try to make sure that I, and others, are using it the right way round.

Have a great week.


About the Author: Adam Blackie occasional writer and professional Interim Manager who leads information management teams through their change programmes. He works with organisations in the UK to change the way technology is used by staff and their customers.


About Adam Blackie

A career Freelance Accountant who specialises in leading helping others to hold onto their money.
This entry was posted in change management, Implementing Change, Interim Management, Leadership, leading change, reputation management and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Making decisions using Esse Quam Videri

  1. Adam Blackie says:

    Footnote. Here is the Wikipedia entry for the phrase.

    “Truly being something, rather than merely seeming to be something. Motto of many institutions. From chapter 26 of Cicero’s De amicitia (‘On Friendship’). Earlier than Cicero, the phrase had been used by Sallust in his Bellum Catilinae (54.6), where he wrote that Cato esse quam videri bonus malebat (he preferred to be good, rather than to seem so). Earlier still, Aeschylus used a similar phrase in Seven Against Thebes, line 592, ou gar dokein aristos, all’ enai thelei (he wishes not to seem the best, but to be the best).”

    Seems that the good stuff has been known all along. Being human, we keep forgetting it.

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