I have seen the word “authentic” a lot lately. Some of the time, it seems pretty inauthentic! So, I got curious. What is “authenticity” and how does it relate to business?
“Authenticity--The quality of being genuine or not corrupted from the original. Truthfulness of origins, attributions, commitments, sincerity, and intentions.” Source: Wiktionary
Based on this definition, when someone is being authentic, their behavior, manners, language, attitudes--everything about them--are consistent and apparent in everything they do. They freely show their real selves to others. There is a connection between their words and actions, between who they are as a person and who they are as an entrepreneur, between how they act in private and how they act in business.
For me, authenticity in business means:
Being accountable, admitting mistakes, and apologizing. Authentic people don’t bury their mistakes or point fingers.
Respecting others and crediting them for their achievements and ideas. Authentic people don’t “borrow” ideas from others; they have plenty of their own ideas.
Willingly and freely helping others without expectations of getting something in return. Authentic people don’t keep scorecards.
Having the courage to acknowledge their emotions and communicate honestly with others. Authentic people don’t pretend to be what they aren’t.
Being honest and forthright in everything. Authentic people don’t exaggerate or shade the truth.
When it comes to developing products and services, authenticity is an important element in developing long-term customer relationships. Lately, I've seen a lot of "experts" selling coaching packages and workshops that claim to teach us how to "make a million," yet many of these "experts" are struggling to pay the rent. Here's another example: "The $9,000 package of products for just $97!" I have found that most of the "package" is old, tired content that can't be sold as new and valuable. It might have been worth $9,000 ten years ago, but today? Not so much.
Then there are those who change personalities like some people change their underwear. They are completely different depending on whom they are with. Is that being authentic? I'm not talking about knowing how to communicate to different people or how to establish rapport, I'm talking about people who become someone else, who take on a new persona just to "get in" with someone they need for business. Is that authentic?
What does authenticity in business mean to you? Please share!
Patricia Haddock helps entrepreneurs turn their message and passion into authentic products and services for bottom-line profits. Find out how here!