If I Was Running A Company…Authenticity

Authenticity is the hot word in the job and social media realm.  You can easily define authenticity as real, honest, transparent, and genuine.  If the definition is easy, then why is it so hard to find it?  The answer is it varies if you talk to individuals.

The thing about authenticity is everyone knows what they’re looking for, but can they find it?  Authenticity has two tiers: the one that’s on your profile and the one where you meet face-to-face.  The one on your profile (resume, social media profiles) quantifies your attributes while going into the real world and meeting other people is the quality attribute of you.  The latter is hard to determine and that is where most of us have a hard time looking for authenticity.

The main problem why it’s hard to determine if the person is authentic is we don’t know how many layers the person has.  The person could be a straight shooter in all of their conversations; the person knows how to speak in different environments from on and off work to home; the person might be a terrible employee but might have a heart of gold; or the person might be a great employee but is a terrible person.  There are a trillion plus possibilities of personalities, but people want to put labels.  This is where the line is blurred if each of us want o be authentic or be authentic according to our opinions.

There are two things about being authentic:

  1. Keep an open mind to whoever you meet.  There are some will surprise and some you expect and some will disappoint.  That’s why we meet in person.
  2. We know who we are, but if someone has a different view about you, can you accept that answer?  If not, can you defend yourself?

Basically, we all know what authenticity is, but can we see who’s authentic?  That question depends on your point of view and gut instincts.  Our judgment will lead to a certain direction, but is it the direction that you want?

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  • Good post Tracy. I would argue the definition is not so easy. Sure you can look it up on dictionary.com and find a definition that is pretty darn good but I think, with the advent of social media, we need a new definition because of how flat and transparent things are becoming.

    I don’t know that everyone knows what authenticity really is. I am not sure I do. As hrringleader pointed out in her comment (above or below this one – not sure how you have that organized as I type this) I only have thoughts and ideas on what it is. The debate and discussion that follows posts like ours is likely where the definition will be found.

    Oh, if you don’t mind, I am posting a link directly to my post on authenticity, hrringleader gave a link to the site and I thought it would be helpful to go directly to the post she mentions.

    http://www.bearingfruitconsulting.com/2009/07/what-is-authenticity.html

  • Excellent…but as soon as you said “people have layers”….I thought Shrek and the line “ogres are like onions, they have layers”….very true….and especially in an online venue where all we have is what people put forward. Does anyone put forward everything?

  • @hrringleader I agree. Social Media has made adjustments to not only work, but our lives as well and their trying their best to compromise the two.

    @Michael I totally agree that none of us know what authenticity looks like. I think a “visual” definition has been founded, but you get many answers, which is fine, but we have to make sure those answers are right. By the way, great post on Lloyd Dobler and authenticity.

    @sourcerkelly Yes, Shrek. I remember the onions have layers line. You get a gold star for that. The only person I can think of who put everything forward is the Founder of Lifelock who showed his Social Security Number in public. Other than that, almost all of us our humans 🙂

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