It is interesting. You keep coming back to authenticity as almost that cornerstone. Probably the thing that we can most control is whether we are authentic ourselves. I am just interested in exploring this because I am the immediate past president of an organization called the Arthur Page Society. It is mostly chief communications officers of major corporations. A few years ago we put out a report called The Authentic Enterprise. The context of this was to say the world has changed and our greatest offense and defense is to be authentic. It has been very interesting to hear that some people really applaud that, discuss it, and get on board with it. Others have said that is very naive.
I can imagine them saying that it is naive only because there is a misunderstanding. Authentic does not mean ideal. It is not about being perfect all the time.
Companies make mistakes. Leaders make mistakes. You need to give yourself permission as a leader and your community of employees to make mistakes; otherwise they will never try anything. Some of the best companies out there that I have had the good fortune to work with are not necessarily smarter. They just risk better on a consistent basis. I think a leader needs to say we are going to try this. We are going to make expensive mistakes. I would like to do it with my employees. Also when you give employees that permission, they too bring their authentic selves. It is not the face they put on for work, but their authentic selves to bare on the projects at work. They may have extraordinary skills, new ways of looking at problems, or be able to collaborate together in new ways. You will not know if that is even possible unless they feel like they have got permission to contribute that way. Authenticity is about being true to who you are and more human in the way you approach your business.