Authenticity: faking it, or the real McCoy?

posted in: Resources | 0


1a Worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact: “paints an authentic picture of our society”

1b Conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features: “an authentic reproduction of a colonial farmhouse”

1c Made or done the same way as an original: “authentic Mexican fare”

2 Not false or imitation; real, actual: “an authentic cockney accent”

3 True to one’s own personality, spirit, or character: “is sincere and authentic with no pretensions”

Source: Merriam-Webster
In the world of organizations, authentic usually means fake.

Only those who think they are inauthentic seek to become authentic.

They will never achieve their goal. Trying to be authentic is like trying to be cool.

They strive for the state of being described in definition 3, but end up with 1b or 1c.

Close, but no cigar.

A prominent U.S. business school promotes the idea of “acting like a leader”:

Twitter post by @StanfordBiz

Source: Twitter, @StanfordBiz | View source | Refers to the article Act Like the Leader You Want to Be, by Beth Rimbey, on Stanford Business.
No. We need leaders who are the real McCoy, and not members of the ‘fake it until you make it’ brigade.

The word ‘authentic’ screams fake. Down at the pub, and in the supermarket queue, and at the bus stop, people say real, or genuine, or honest.

The authentic Chinese restaurant is the one that’s full of Chinese people.

There is no formula for generating the authentic warmth of love. It cannot be copied. You cannot talk yourself into it or rouse it by straining at the emotions or by dedicating yourself solemnly to the service of mankind. Everyone has love, but it can only come out when he is convinced of the impossibility and the frustration of trying to love himself. This conviction will not come through condemnations, through hating oneself, through calling self love bad names in the universe. It comes only in the awareness that one has no self to love.

Source: Alan Watts, a British philosopher, writer, and speaker, best known as an interpreter and populariser of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience.

Leave a Reply