The authentic human being is not superficial, surface level and insincere. He is genuine, heartfelt and frank. The authentic organization is true; they stick to their brand promises and seek to satisfy their customers’ need at on levels.
Authenticity happens when people are honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives and businesses. They share their hurts, reveal their true feelings, confess their failures and doubts, admit their fears, acknowledge their weaknesses and ask for help where necessary.
Authenticity is the exact opposite of what you find in most people (and organizations). Instead of an atmosphere of honesty and humility, there is pretending, role-playing, politicking and superficial politeness. People now wear masks, keep their guards up and act like everything are rosy in their lives whereas, the reverse is the case. This is why depression and suicidal thoughts are becoming rampant despite the abundance of material things.
In the organization, the urge to say what we believe is true. But instead of this, doing what will make others happy is probably at the root of a great deal of organizational failures where too much is promised and not enough delivered.
Today, the culture of sycophancy has colored the relationship between the organization and the customers. And most brand failures start not with the failure to communicate with customers, but with failure to communicate inside organizations where relationships are dull and false because employees suppress their real ideas and feelings, perhaps out of fear of sounding off beat and being disliked by their peers.
Being authentic requires both courage and humility. It means facing our fear of exposure and rejection. It enables us have more honest conversations with each other. It also opens an avenue where fewer and truthful organizational promises are made; and greater willingness to challenge and be challenged.
During a business meeting where we were planning market penetration strategies for a client, the client’s employee told us she made a promise that wasn’t authentic to a customer. She believed saying that to a customer would bring him to the organization and encourage him to bring others. And in effect, make great sales. Upon hearing this, the client became furious and admonished the employee not to make promises that weren’t true to customers, even though those promises would lead to more sales. He believed making such promises would cost the organization more loss, instead of gain, in the long run. For him, it was better to under promise and over deliver, rather than the reverse.
This is a clear case of authenticity in business. And only a few people are willing to do this.
Are you authentic?
Are you willing to be authentic?
Think about it.