This month, I’d like to introduce you to Tinus Van der merwe, my colleague and business partner from South Africa. Tinus and I share strengths training and a long history of organizational development work with leaders and teams. I know you will get value from the following article on authenticity:

When I was requested to write something about authenticity in business, my first reaction as a Baby Boomer was “are you nuts? That’s just not on!” We were taught specific recipes applied to doing business, and there’s no place for touch, feely stuff in there. Outwit, outplay and outlast; to quote the reality show, Survivor. Interestingly, even in this model, trust plays a very important role. Where people don’t trust others, they cover their interests by outwitting, outplaying and outlasting the other role-players. More importantly, they prefer to do business with people they trust.

This raises the question of under which conditions trust is highest, and one answer is where people are being authentic. That is where one gets what one sees, there is no pretense and lots of sincerity is being found. It’s “this is me, stripped of everything fake and unreal”. This is the world where transparency rules and judgment stays away, where people communicate through their actions and body language that “you can trust me”. It’s confident vulnerability and a preference for interdependence, where people don’t mind being vulnerable, and also not to demonstrate their confidence at the same time. They set the example to, by being vulnerable, afford others the opportunity to be of value, and to be of value when others express their vulnerability. Complement and collaborate, instead of judge and compete. This is the world of authenticity.

What does this mean for business? There are examples of business people concluding multi-million dollar transactions with a handshake, and no written contract in sight. This is the impact of authenticity. We trust each other infinitely, and our integrity will not allow us to impede this agreement. We share a common goal and vision, and we acknowledge tacitly that each of us don’t have all the answers, therefore we will complement each other’s strengths and collaborate, so that we can serve us, and ultimately serve others. Imagine what’s possible! Energy getting channeled into finding solutions instead of fighting and arguing, legal expenses almost eliminated, more mutual understanding, more self-sustaining people (which is GOOD for business), more people getting employed, and so on. Imagine!!

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