Speaking and acting everyday with purpose and integrity
“The most authentic companies are those where there is no gap between the purpose of your company and it's actions, no gap between what it aspires to be and how it acts every day.”
— Keith Yamashita, Founder, SYPartners
Authenticity is a commitment and an unwillingness to compromise on the things that truly matter to you. Authenticity puts values before profits, and long-term vision before short-term gains. It’s easy to be Authentic in the 99%, when things are going great. But, it’s in the 1% – when things get really tough – that people see what you’re made of.
To be authentic, you first have to understand clearly what your brand purpose is; what you’re here to do, and why you do it. Authenticity is when your purpose drives behaviour, rather than money.
Business is often a relationship of compromises. Therefore, it is vital to decide in advance where you are able to compromise and make concessions, and what are your non-negotiables. Where can you be flexible in order to do business, and where must you take a stand to defend the integrity of your brand.
You cannot departmentalise authenticity. Either your whole organisation is true to your brand values, or it’s not. How can you be unwilling to compromise, and then use suppliers which operate in total conflict with your non-negotiables? The bigger you are, the harder you have to work to protect your authenticity.
Authenticity requires sacrifice. Sometime opportunities are put before us, which look really good on the surface, but come with strings attached. Making short-term decisions that compromise your core values, can have a catastrophic effect on the integrity of your brand. Authenticity is the courage to say ‘No’, because you have already said ‘YES’ to something bigger and truer to the fabric of who you are.
Trust; so hard to build, so quick to go. The cornerstone of a trusting relationship is authenticity. If you’re asking how can we become more authentic in order to get people to trust you, you’re asking the wrong question. Authenticity is not something you can turn on-or-off; it’s a track record, a tradition, a heritage. We can look back at where you’ve come from and see a pattern emerge which is lived out every day.
When we talk about something being authentic, we’re usually talking about something that has been around a long time and has stayed true to its greatness, the thing that makes it special. Its shape may have changed over the years, but the core truth has remained the same; you are buying a legacy. There is enormous value in a brand with legacy. Authenticity is not something you can buy off a shelf, it has to be earned.