Thursday, August 6, 2009


I've been reflecting on the concept of authenticity. I recently came across the following on Twitter @Informative which illustrates this point perfectly. The YouTube video explaining the rules of an Oregon Chai contest mis-pronounce the state's name. Oops.

The point of authenticity is that you just can't fake it. It is a state of being, and ultimately others will decide if you are authentic or not. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Live Your Values

If one of your organization's stated values is honesty, then don't lie. Even a little white lie. It is better to say "hey, we've never done a project like that, but we'd love to have a chance to work hard for you" versus, "sure, we've done 30 projects like that" when you haven't.

2) Be Committed

If you are talking about being sustainable, then "walk the walk."

  • Encourage carpooling, taking mass transit, or biking to work
  • Provide reusable mugs or cups v. providing paper cups
  • Grow a garden on-site, encourage employees to tend it, and then make the harvest available to all.
3) Reinvent Processes

Look at internal and external processes -- where is there excessive use of resources, such as fuel, energy, or paper? Where is waste created? Overhauling inefficient processes will help you to build your sustainable rep and save you money.

4) Consider Affiliations

Look at the organizations with whom you do business:
  • Do they treat their employees well?
  • Are they a heavy polluter?
  • Do they employ sustainable or socially responsible practices?
  • Are they energy efficient?
  • Do they have a good record on human rights?
We can't control everything that a partner, client, or supplier does, but we can be informed and collaborative in discussing best practices.

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