Authenticity. The word has great “mouth feel”. Like a grape that rolls across the tongue with a smoothness until you bite down and experience a fluid burst of tang and sweet.
I think when I first noticed the word “authentic” was as a kid in connection with names of Mexican restaurants. Maria’s—authentic Mexican food. Sounds legit. What didn’t sound legit, and unfortunately what we made fun of as a family, was some non-Latino name associated with a Mexican restaurant. Like, what could a guy named Bob or George know about Mexican cuisine? What we failed to consider was that George was named by his European father and schooled in the kitchen by his mother Lucretia who worked at Hosteria de Santo Domingo in Mexico City. She patiently taught young George the specialty dish of Chile en Nogada which is “poblano chilies filled with a mixture of…ground meat, aromatic fruit and spices, topped with a walnut-based cream sauce and pomegranate seeds.” (from mxcity—guía insider). Now that’s authentic!
“Authenticity is your most precious commodity as a leader.”
There’s been much said about the topic of authenticity since Socrates and even before. We get it. Don’t be an imitation; be true to who you are. But, who are you? And, does authenticity allow for changes in who you are? And do you have to be “different” from the next guy in order to be truly authentic?
Yes and No. Existentialists expounded deeply about authenticity. Some, such as Nietzsche, promoted the rejection of all religion as a moral compass and elevating one’s self to determine good and evil. Kierkegaard, while not atheistic, argued that the media and the Church blocked people from living authentically. Both argued that individuals should take an active role in seeking out their own authenticity and not respond to the “herd instinct”. End of philosophy lesson.
Here’s the great thing about humans…we get to change how we think and feel and as a result change our outlooks and reactions! And, the same applies to the work we do. Even with identical twins, no two of us are exactly alike. One might argue that this in of itself makes us a unique, or authentic, individual. When it comes to business adaptation, we like to imitate, or adopt for ourselves, a technique or software that the competing business may be using successfully, and that’s okay. We can’t imagine early humans, upon seeing someone use a wheel for the first time, think “man, that would make life a lot easier, but I’ve got to be true to my nature and not copy that.”
How to change while maintaining authenticity
Prioritize & Analyze
RM has spoken about the subject of “taking stock” in our Mashup #1. Similar to this idea is listing out your priorities as a business. Why are you doing what you’re doing? And please don’t say “to make money.” Obviously, we’re in business because we’re trying to make money. Rather, is your goal to become the top supplier of plumbing supplies in your community? Is your current goal simplification of your operation so that you can focus on more on product development? Are you trying to boost your influence in a foreign market? List your goals. These will in turn become your filters as to what stays, what leaves, and what gets adopted.
See Things Realistically
Our culture encourages us to “dream big,” and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, you have to be realistic. If the well is empty, there’s nothing to draw out. Yes, you may be able to borrow water from the other guy’s well to prime the speculation pump, but is it worth the gamble? What happens if it fails? Will that failure be manageable?
“Authenticity is more than speaking; authenticity is also about doing. Every decision we make says something about who we are.”—Simon Sinek
Plan & Go to Work
We can’t foresee every curve or challenge, but we have a measure of planning ability. Don’t waste time in over-complicating the goals, examining every “what-if”, or having undefined deadlines. Have a working blueprint of the overall goal. Set mid-range goals with specific deadlines. But, what if those curves or obstacles present themselves unexpectedly?
A fluid, or dynamic approach doesn’t hold rigidly to an idea and force it to work. You haven’t lost your identity because a challenge arises and you have to make adjustments. Perhaps we’ve simply been made aware of a weakness that when fixed actually makes us a better version of ourselves and our business.
So, go ahead, make a change, and make another and another. These changes don’t make you inauthentic. Conversely, this ability to adapt is one of the very things that makes us authentic. But, in the process, be honest and realistic about why you’re doing what you’re doing. And, if the great change doesn’t have the results you desired or anticipated, it’s okay to return to your previous state.
We all like honest and real. And our customers are no exception. Want them to advocate for you even with all the awkward moments? Be authentic, and keep moving forward.
RightMind is a business with a fervent dedication to helping other businesses succeed. With years of hands-on application of scientific principles in the commercial world, we show you how to take your operation from good to one that creates loyal advocates. Why not inquire about how we can make this work for you?