CXO Leadership

How to Foster a Culture of Authenticity in Your Organization

Fostering a culture of authenticity_CIO Talk Network

Have you ever wondered what it really takes to bring together a handful of people and start an organization? If you look at some of the top organizations in the world today, most of them were born in a garage, a dorm or a park. Even when you look at most startups in the digital era, most of them started as hole-in-the-wall outfits.

But what does it really take to grow a small idea into a big authentic business?

We’ve got to have organizations that can function at a very high level and have people that are quite motivated and excited about the work they do

Why do I use the word authentic here, you might wonder? The answer is simple. You may have the big bucks and the big brains to run a successful business, but take a moment to look within the organization. What do you see? Are your leaders happy? Do you see an organization that is creating products that it really believes in? Does it hire people who really believe in the brand? Does the organization care whether the people who work for it are motivated or not?

Listen: Creating an Authentic Organization

“We’ve got to have organizations that can function at a very high level and have people that are quite motivated and excited about the work they do and understand where they fit in the organization and how they relate to the mission of the organization,” says Sue Workman, CIO at Case Western Reserve University.

As an organization, if you’re consistent in what you say and what you do, your authenticity is not in question. And believe me, it’s not boring to be consistent sometimes. In fact, it is what empowers an organization and makes it people trust the brand.

We need to move away from those traditional performance measures

Imagine if as an organization, you have to undergo constant reorgs as a result of a high attrition rate? How would you explain that to your employees, to customers, and to your stakeholders? Would you say that there are better jobs outside who pay more? Instead, wouldn’t it be better if your good people rather stayed and helped you build a more authentic brand?

You have to move away from those traditional performance measures, focus on the coaching and mentoring of your employee,” says Stephen Elkins, CIO at City of Austin, Texas.

It is as much an employee’s job to become and stay authentic as much as the leader’s. So what must a leader really do in order to be authentic? For me, it has to be a leader who is self-aware, who incorporate good values into his leadership, speaks from the heart, and believes in his people and the organization that he works for – makes the cut.

Clearly, authentic leaders will need authentic organizations and vice versa.

But can authentic leaders survive in inauthentic organizations? Can they help an organization make the journey from an inauthentic brand to an authentic one? These are good questions to ask.

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