22 Nov 2017

Authentic vs. authenticated

Marketing gurus promote the ideas that we must position ourselves / our brands / our whatever as “authentic”. And as leaders, we must become authentic leaders.

Yes, but ..

You cannot call yourself authentic on your own. Authenticity does not exist in a vacuum: you need someone else to validate that you are who you say you are, i.e. that you are authentic.

Your opinion on your own authenticity matters little. Authenticity is attributed to you by the beholders based on what they perceive about you, not based on what you think of yourselves. And their perception of your authenticity is completely subjective to their expectation of how you act out your values or principles.

There is no need to make any claim about authenticity. Instead, decide which values or principles you stand for and act accordingly, day in and day out.

Then ask people and truly listen to their answers. (Do not try to justify yourself, but let their answers – even between the lines – be your mirror.) Are you acting or living according to the values or principles you stand for?

Yes = authentic

No = need to work on it

Avoid marketing B.S. and keep it simple. Go “walk the talk”.