Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Authenticity and core values


Authenticity and genuineness are critical for the success of a leader. If you don't sound and act like you believe in what you are saying and doing, people will notice. People will notice and take action. You probably won't like the actions that they take.

Recent news commentary focussed on a certain national leader's speech to a audience of supporters. The speech, booked for a half an hour, lasted almost three times that length. The organisers encouraged him to "keep going." He had captivated the audience and was delivering more than what was promised (as usual, I might add). One of the comments made about the event was the fact that he gave the speech without aid of a TelePrompTer. For anyone who has stood before a meeting and gave a five minute talk from memory, it's tough enough. But an hour and a half? That's amazing.

When questioned about it, the man said that he didn't need to be prompted about his core beliefs and values. He said that he keeps his beliefs close to his heart and they mean the world to him. As such, he can (and did) speak at length about the topic without a script. His speech was genuine, from the heart, and authentically his. His results speak for themselves.

The lesson here is that authenticity matters. This particular gentleman has built up a following over the years by sticking to what he does and knows best. He doesn't waver from his core values.

In the 14th Degree (SJ), we learn what it means to keep steadfast and maintain your integrity in the face of adversity. It's easy to do when you keep your core values in your heart and live each day by them. It's easy to be authentic, a genuine person, when you live this way; uncontrived, unscripted.

Be yourself. Be the best "you" that you can be. It's a lot like golf, you aren't trying to be better than me, or better than your neighbour. You are trying each day to be better than yourself. Now imagine if each one of the people around you lived this way. How powerful would that be?

Remember, it starts with you.

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