Being Real - The Power of Authenticity

In our workshops, training programs, and coaching sessions with salespeople, sales leaders and sales teams we spend a lot of time exploring the subject of authenticity. It’s an essential, yet elusive quality, and of the five Go-Giver principles we share, The Law of Authenticity seems to be one of the most challenging, for both for individuals and inside the cultures of organisations, to come to grips with.

In today’s hyper-competitive world, sales skills are critically important. However, their effectiveness is severely curtailed in the absence of authenticity, while the presence of authenticity has the effect of amplifying their effectiveness.

Just like WWE Superstar and Hollywood heavy weight The Rock in the compelling video below, many of us have leaned to play 'the part' in our professional lives. Sure,we can flip the switch and go into 'sales mode' but again, in much the same way as The Rock experienced early in his wrestling career, turning up as a fake version of yourself can create very real feelings of angst and stress; and what's more your clients and colleagues can tell. 

They can tell, and that niggling feeling that something isn't quite right about this person or this situation causes them to question your motives, undermines trust, and creates the adversarial relationships that traditionally exist between buyers and sellers, which of course makes it less likely rather than more likely other people will want to work with, or do business with you.

In psychology they refer to the feelings we get when our words, actions, and behaviours are in conflict as cognitive dissonance, which is: 

The mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, performs an action that is contradictory to one or more beliefs, ideas or values, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values

In today's purpose driven experience economy it has never been more important to be real and to do so in each and every interaction. There can be no disconnect between how we relate to ourselves and how we relate to our clients. In the same way that trustworthy people don't have to say "Trust me" we can't simply tell our clients how real and authentic we are, they are much smarter and sophisticated than that. We have to communicate and demonstrate it through our behaviours; and we need to do so constantly, and consistently.

Recently published research from our partners at purpose pioneer Imperative identified an even more compelling reason for leaders to cultivate workplace cultures where all of us get to embrace our true authentic core. Their 2019 Workplace Purpose Index revealed “it is statistically impossible to be fulfilled in life if you aren’t fulfilled at work”. These findings are supported by international consultancy Gallup, who have been tracking employee engagement for almost three decades. Their data shows that only 15% of the global workforce is classified as being engaged at work.

According to Imperative “The encouraging news is that employee fulfillment appears to be far more actionable and attainable (while still creating significant business value) than engagement. Where the work on employee engagement has focused on managers, culture, and resources, employee fulfillment is something that people recognize is about them. It is their responsibility and they also see themselves as the greatest barrier.”

You simply can't fake being real. The really great news is, authenticity isn't something you need to learn; it's only something you need to embrace because at your core you already are your true authentic self. It can take some time to re-discover, but there are few things in life more precious, so don't keep yourself waiting.

The most powerful thing you can be is yourself
— Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson

About The Author

Ian J Lowe is the Founder and CEO of eccoh, a sales transformation, coaching and consulting organisation pioneering a movement to change the way the world experiences and thinks about sales. The selling environment has radically changed and yesterday’s attitudes, mindsets and cultures are no longer relevant. To succeed we need to be much more than in the past. Our mission is to harness the collective energies of every salesperson on the planet as a force for good in the world.

Image Credits: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, The Law of Authenticity from The Go-Giver book, Bob Burg and John David Mann.