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The Truth About You

Truth About Yo

IN THE January/February 2019 issue of Communication Arts, Ernie Schenck writes about two kinds of truth: authentic and inauthentic. Authentic truth is who you are. Inauthentic truth is who you are when everyone is looking. It’s accepting what the loudest voices around you are saying because you don’t want to look bad. It’s commonplace in politics, but we see it everywhere. It’s pandering. Not leadership. It’s denigrating. Not serving.

Inauthentic leadership is selfish. We use it to get something. To get us from A-to-B. As leaders, we need to be sure we are walking our talk. If we talk about service to others, then everything we do must be guided by that value. If we believe in building others, then everything we do must build others without regard for our own position. If we are empathetic, then our criticisms are constructive and measured, not strident.

The alignment between who we are—our authentic truth—and what we say and do is critical. A leader who acts or his or her authentic truth is a leader that can be trusted. If we jump on every bandwagon that comes through, we can be perceived as not knowing our own mind. When we lead from who we are and not from where everyone else thinks we should, more than just being trusted, we can more easily adapt, grow, and lead in a thoughtful and measured manner.

Here are Schenck’s thoughts on truth in advertising from The Truth Is Out There. Kind Of.:

The authentic truth. It’s absolute. It’s unshakeable. Its power to propel us as creatives mighty beyond measure. But there is another truth. It is feeble. It is disingenuous. And it is something we’ve rarely seen before. The kind of truth that’s fleeting. Fabricated. Cloaked in insincerity. And if we’re not careful, it can lure us onto a bandwagon that at best is uncomfortable and at worst can suck the spirit out of us. Call it the inauthentic truth.

We all want to ally ourselves with brands that have hitched their star to a purpose. Who doesn’t want that? Who wouldn’t want to work on a Patagonia, a Ben & Jerry’s, a Dove—brands that found their true north long ago, way before purpose became trendier than a retro flip phone or a pair of Louis Vuitton workout pants.

But what about the brands that are late to the party, that feel compelled to stand for something more than just a great car or a phenomenal running shoe or the smartphone to end all smartphones for no other reason than it’s what the market expects right now. I don’t need to spell it out for you. You know who they are. The poseurs. The opportunists. The ones that are willing to embrace any cause, any movement, any social activism if it means getting themselves a place at the table.

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