The Social Bond

Troop in Edinburgh - Night

"If this afternoon, you were to lose everything, become a failure in all that you had sought to create, who would stand by you?" 

This is the question I asked of a number of men during a six month period a many years ago.

At the time, I did not realize how traumatizing my question could be. Most of them answered with reflective silence.

The others? "My mother."

None of them were confident that their spouse, their children, their neighbors, the people from their congregation, work, the club or any other social association would hang in there with them during a time of humiliation. In effect, these recognized leaders of their businesses were isolated and alone, alienated from a community of support and caring.

It did not take long to realize that I had to stop asking the question.  It didn't help them. I also realized that I had to become a person who could stand along side of them when they would go through the worst experiences of their personal and professional life. It changed my approach to being a consultant. It elevated my understanding of the relational nature of leadership.

Why is it that these men thought that no one stood with them?

Is it something personal?

Or is it something embedded in the way leadership, professional life and the structure of organizations have developed?

Failure of the sort that I described to them could come as a black swan, out of the nowhere, without expectation. Over the past three years, many people have found themselves in this situation. It points to a fragility that exists in our lives that is buffered by relationships of trust.

Trust is basic to healthy human interaction and the functioning of society.  We diminish the value of trust when it is understood as little more than the basis of economic exchange.

In my post, The Emergent Transformation, I distinguish between human experience that is series of transactions of information and encounters between people, and a transformational one where our interaction creates a higher level engagement.

Here's an example of what I mean.

The closest Starbucks to my home is in my neighborhood grocery store. For most of the baristas, I'm a customer. I come in, order my coffee, pay for it, and leave. Whatever banter we have is rather meaningless, just the sort of talk that accompanies any transaction.

However, there is one young woman who is different. She engages me in conversation. She recognizes me, tells me about her day, asks about mine with genuine interest.

One morning, I walked in and said, "Grande bold, room for cream, please." She starts to laugh. She stops and says, "Sounds like the names of your pets." We both laugh. It is one of those situational jokes (You had to be there.). So about once every three or four visits we talk about my dog, Grande bold, and my cat, Room for cream.

Granted, the barista and I will never become BFFs or colleagues in business. However, the moment we shared that day transcended the typical economic transaction that was the purpose of my visit, and has transformed my relationship to that store.

The Social Bond Online

Over the past decade, an interest in human connection and social networks has grown dramatically. Much of this interest is taking place online through social media platforms. You only have to look at the rise of Facebook to see the extent of the desire that people have to be socially connected to other people.

Many people denigrate the trend towards connection by social media.

"They are not real relationships." 

The relationships that develop are viewed as the online equivalent of a large cocktail party. Lots of meet and greet (search), exchange of contact info (befriending), and a superficial staying in touch (status updates.)

There is a social bond to this shared experience.  Real relating is taking place. Some of it is at a low level of social interaction as describe above. However, some of it is at a personally meaningful level. Social transformation is taking place as our connection deepens with each interaction, and possibilities open up for good things to result.  This is my own experience. 

The social bond is not the online space where we meet. The bond is the connection that we share through a common interest. Our interaction is real and provocative. Like many people, I find people whom are asking similar questions, seeking similar solutions, and who are open to learning from others.

There are two conditions that determine whether the social bond online is superficial or substantive.

The first is the transformational potential of the ideas or common interests that bring people together.

The second is the willingness for participants to allow their interaction to lead the interaction where it needs to go.

As you can see, it isn't being online, but what we do online that matters. By being a particular kind of person, we engage others in such a way that the social bond emerges from its hidden place in the social setting..

Learning to see a social bond

Earlier in my career, I worked at a small college. One of my roles was to develop a student leaders program. For three years I failed as I sought out the top student leaders to form a group focused on leadership. They simply were not interested. Persistence is sometimes not the answer. Changing your approach is.

Over time, and through my doctoral work, I came to see what was in plain sight, but virtually all of us miss when we talk about leadership.

We see leadership as a set of transactions or rather interactions and moments of decision within an organizational context. We think of leadership as a function of process. Is it simply a series of transactions made between people and groups within an business, or is it something more?

When we think only transactionally, we miss seeing the social dimension. 

We touch on it when we talk about collaboration and team work. But if you listen, most talk about improving those aspects of their business is not about the social dimension, but rather the tactical dimension of business processes.  My observation is that most leaders don't address the social dimension until it has become problematic. By ignoring the social dimension, we create a self-profiling prophecy as issues arise that not subject to easy process change.

Let me say it this way.

The last remaining unexplored leverage that leaders have now is the social dimension.

Tactics and processes, while essential, do not address the issues that many businesses now face. Leaders must identify the social bond that exists within their organizations if they are going to find the edge they need for sustainable growth in the future.

I learned this in addressing my own failure with my student leaders program. My approach had been abstract and tactical, lacking in a context for application. So, I shifted my focus to mobilizing student groups through the social bond that brought them together.   

In a college context, there are sports teams, fraternities, sororities, academic clubs, religious groups, advocacy groups and residence halls. In each, a group of students discover each other through a common bond that unites them together. It provides each person connection, a place of belonging, and a sense of identity.  For the group it provides purpose, a reason to exist and possibly as they develop a way to understand the difference they can make as a group.

Connecting Ideas2
In a business context, there are associations based on interest, skills, industry and locale. The social bond unites the executive team, the administrative staff, the sales staff, and back office as uniquely definable groups whose shared work experience provides a basis for connection, belonging and identity.

The leader of the organization has to discover the social bond that unites all the different groups to make them one group. That social bond is wrapped in what I call the four Connecting Ideas. 

When I discovered this perspective, I made two changes to my student leadership program.

The first change was to shift my attention from the individual leader to the group.

The second was to shift my leadership emphasis from teaching abstract principles of leadership to learning to lead within the context of doing it. 

I did this by starting two new activities on campus. One was a campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity International. The second was an afternoon play group for the elementary age children of adolescent mothers in our community. For each, I went to the groups on campus, asking them to sign up for a service weekend with a Habitat affiliate in a nearby county or one of the play days with kids during the semester.  In both instances, groups eagerly stepped forward to sign up and participate. They saw it as a fun, meaningful activity for their group. The leaders within those groups rose to the top as organization as they took on responsibility, with the added benefit of new leaders coming forth who wanted to focus on these new campus activities.

The transcendent character of a social bond

A group's social bond is not a branded idea. While ideas may describe the bond, it is more than an idea. It is instead something emergent. It is something that is whole, that draws people together into a relationship that transcends the moment.

Here's the difference. Your college's basketball team wins the national championship. The streets of town fill up with cheering, celebrating fans. The experience brings people together around their shared joy for their team. But once the cheering stops, the bars close, and baseball season begins, the bonding experience of the post-game celebration is gone.

The social bond is something that people draw upon for meaning and purpose in their relationships within a particular social or organizational context. This is historically been one of the core strengths of religious worship. It isn't just the ideas of faith, but the shared experience of faith that matters. It is a whole shared experience that elevates one's perception of who they are and how their life matters.

For military personnel, the experience of battle is the archtypical bonding experience. This became quite clear to me when I watch for the first time the HBO documentary,  We Stand Alone Together: The Men of Easy Company that accompanies the mini-series Band of Brothers.  Lt. Dick Winters commander of the 506 Paratroop Infantry Regiment,Company E speaks about the men under his leadership.

I look upon them ... each man with great respect ... respect that I can't describe ... each one of them proved himself that he could do the job.

The respect which is difficult to describe is the bond that unites them as soldiers. It comes through a shared experience where they were tested as men and as human beings in the crucible of battle during World War II. Shifty Powers describes it.

"You know these people that you are in service with ... you know those people better than you will ever anybody in your life ... you know them right down to the final thing .. that comes when you start your training .. that progresses."

Listen how these men, in many ways not different from people we encounter everday, describe their relationships with one another.


The social bond that these men have exists beyond analytical description. It can't be simply broken up into a collection of ideas or stories.  It goes deeper than that.  Their relationships matter more than just as as a group of acquaintances. Rather, they are forever connected by the bond of shared experience. You can hear it in what they say. 

Here's what Ed Tipper said in the video.

There is an intimacy develops like nothing I've ever experienced anywhere, not in college, not with any other group of people.

It is like the union leader who commented to me during a values identification process with his company.

"I want us to get back to where we were twenty years ago when we were family."

Embedded in these emotions is the social bond that made working for the company or serving in 506PIR Company E something more than a job.  What formed was something fundamentally important to their experience as human beings. We are not solely individuals. We are not simply interchangeable parts in a system of organizational processes. And potentially not just list of friends in a Facebook profile.

Attention to the social bond that exists in organizations is largely missing in our society today. We treat the shared work that human beings do as mechanical scientific processes that are to be performed and measured. By removing the human social element we think we are removing ambiguity and creating efficiency and consistency. Rather, we are diminishing the organization's ability to maximize the potential that resides in each employee. It produces a rush to the bottom of the lowest common denominator level of social experience. The potential that resides in each person cannot be released because it must be done so within a social context that shared purpose and experience. Our potential is not realized solely by individual initiative, but by collaborative action.  At the heart of every team is a social bond waiting to be recognized and released. It is the hidden potential that awaits recognition by organization leaders world wide.

The challenge we confront

Years ago, when I asked people who would stand with them if they failed, unwittingly, I was revealing the absence of the compelling connection that the social bond in an organization can create. The reason for this is not solely the mechanistic principles modern scientific management.  It is also a national culture that seeks to remove risk and danger from every day life. 

When I first watched the We Stand Alone Together documentary of the actual members of Easy Company, I turned to my son and said,

"If you ever find yourself in a group where this is your experience of friendship, consider yourself to be one of the lucky few. Most people go through life never having this kind of experience of human community."

At the heart of the social bond is the recognition that we need one another. Not because we are weak, but rather because we are incomplete as individuals. The togetherness that is realized when this social bond is strong enables men and women from diverse backgrounds to join together to achieve greatness beyond their individual potential.

The challenge before us is to believe that this is true, and to act accordingly. For if this is true, then how we organize our businesses will set the stage for the elevation of the social bond creating a culture of shared human endeavor, that is required more today than every before.

First steps in discovering the social bond that exists in your organization.

I could give the standard analytical process of a set of processes that focus on the development of values and organizational purpose. But I won't, even if at some level that is important.

Instead, just treat each person with openness and honor.

Learning how to do that (I'm assuming we all need to learn to be more open to others, and to honor the best in them), a new social context will emerge that can elevate your company to a new place of shared endeavor.

To be open simply means to listen, to understand, to affirm, to let people try and fail, and to create the expectation that others will be open.

It means letting new people have the opportunity to influence decision-making and direction. It means not assuming control over every aspect of the organization's life.  And from my experience, openness is a powerful attractor for talented people to come work for your business.  It is a signal of authenticity and opportunity.

To honor is to appreciate the value and dignity of each person (see my post Honor and the Lost Art of Diplomacy) .

This is more difficult because it requires us to pay attention to the other people in the room. We must look at them not as human resources or representatives of particular social ideologies. We look at them with dignity and respect, with appreciation for the potential contributions that they can make. In many cases their contribution can only be realized when the social bond creates social strength for the depth of trust and collaboration needed for a challenge moment.

In one way or another, much of our lives is lived standing alone. But it does not have to be this way. To stand alone together is the product of intention, initiative, openness and persistence. It emerges from the thousands of individual encounters that we have where our connection to one another begins to matter beyond getting tasks done.  It is where genuine transformation happens.

Discover the social bond in your business, and you discover the path to a future that is yet to be realized.

We are what we do


Everyone needs a dog. Dogs cut through the verbal mumbo-jumbo that we humans  pass off as our intentions and purposes in life. All they know is action.

Our dog Thor only knows us through our actions. He loves us and is loyal to us because we scratch his head, throw him a tennis ball and steal firewood from him so that he can chase us. Thor only knows us through our actions toward him. Because Thor is simple like that, he makes it simpler for us as a family to love each other. Thank you, Thor.

Over the past few weeks, I've met a guy, who will go nameless, who, through his blog, has introduced me to a woman, whom I've now met, who will also go nameless because of her story.

She personifies a principle that I believe is important for leaders to understand. 

Her story in moment.

I meet people all the time who tell me their stories. What is compelling in their stories is not their rationale or their interpretation of it, but rather their description of the actions they have taken to get where they are.

Thirty years ago, when I was a seminary student, there was an idea floating around some churches, and is still prevalent today under different names, that all you had to do is claim God's blessing, and it was yours. It was dubbed, "Name and Claim It."

I realized that this belief system was an invitation to passivity, an entitlement mindset and the self-deception of blaming others for their own failure to act.

Believing in "Name and Claim It" is an emotional narcotic that is not fed by action, but, rather, by the constant need for new inspiration to believe in the idea.

I find it sad and incidious.

My assessment of this success faith is that it is a parasite on the richer tradition of individual freedom and entrepreneurism. It is parasitic because the belief suggests that all you must do to be successful is place an idea in your head, and it will come true.

Not so, every successful person I know has worked hard to get ahead and stay there. There is no magic to becoming a successful person. Even the luckiest, gain and keep their success through hard work and perseverance through the many transition points that are required to create a successful life.

One Woman's Action

I set up this woman's story with this perception of success because of what she did, not what she said she did. I leave her name out, simply to respect the anonymity of her actions. What she did was not done for fame or recognition, but rather to be herself, to live an authentic life, each and everyday. I honor her action by not granting her more public exposure than she wishes.

Let me identify her by the initial H to make the telling of the story easier.

H is a part of group of people who work in most communities as rescue workers. Her rescue work is on the water. She is the leader of a team of water rescuers. They train hard. They put their life on the line for people every day. They are like the police officers who run toward gun fire, the firefighters who run into burning buildings, and soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen who go into the most violent places in our world to provide safety for us at home. H is in this class of person. Even before hearing her story, I had the highest level of respect for her because I know people just like her.

To know me is to understand that I place a person's actions above their intentions. I see people spending most of our lives rationalizing either their action or non-action.

As people, we are prone to self-deception, and it is only through dealing with the hardest, darkest side ourselves that we discover the truth of who we genuinely are. To see this is to be free of fear of discovery, free from humiliation, free no longer to appear to be more than we truly are, and instead to act to do what we must to do be our authentic selves.

H's story is one of heroism. She was returning home to her family after a weekend of training. She comes across an automobile accident that has just happened. Let my other friend tell the story as he heard it.

Just got a call. A visceral scream was the first thing I heard. Someone unloading into their phone and I was the recipient. Confusion, alarm, concern, all the keywords one goes through when you know something bad has happened to the person on the phone with you, flashed my psyche as dread fell upon me.
I then realized that (H) was the gutteral scream. She was in her car, naked for the most part, burned, bruised, in shock. We established a rapport and I began to talk her down.

It is 12:15 AM. I am now wired and beyond alert. (H) had rung off as she reached her home in (C). I knew that she had just done a long day at sea ... in an appreciation day that her company, ... had just put on.
In her weary drive home she had rolled up on a flame wall on the (X highway). She said that she had driven through it and that it looked like Armageddon. Pulling up to a burning car she got out and saw movement in the flames. Grabbing a prybar she broke the window and grabbed at the squirming flame ball that was a man. She said his hands had looked like candles as they burned.
There were bystanders and she screamed for help, but as sometimes happens no one moved and as she managed to gain control of the flaming man she began to pull him out and his foot caught in the debris. Screaming at the bystanders, they finally broke from shock and jumped the two.  As they dragged the guy away, the car exploded.
“I smell (D), I smell like fire and burning flesh, I think I fractured my arm, I am almost home”
H thought that the car had punctured it’s tank in a collision with the guard rail, setting off the tempest. I am taking a sip of vodka right now. It burns and rasps my throat. I am worried about my friend.  Emotionally peaking myself, because I love her and can do nothing. But knowing H, I understand that she will be all right. Eventually. Someone lives tonight, albeit in agony, because H was where she was supposed to be. It is her lot, this sort of thing. Lucky guy.
H always lectures us that rescue (and life) is all about seconds and feet. You have seconds in which to assess and feet in which to react. Tonight once again she illustrated her point. Seconds and feet.

H acted heroically. Talk to military people and they will tell you that the only heroes are the ones who lost their lives in battle. To be a hero is to act sacrificially, even if it means giving your life for another. This is what I see in H's action. A hero acts, not out of a desire for fame and recognition, but rather out of a commitment to serve.

The leadership principle is this.

Our actions lead others, and our words follow.

They are the measure of who we are. If we say one thing, and do another, we create doubt about our authenticity. If we act wrongly, and then explain it away as if it does not matter, then we have driven a wedge between ourselves and others. When we rationalize our inaction or failure, tossing blame on someone else or institution, we rob ourselves of truth, and consequently our freedom to be authentic.

Another Women's Story

Yesterday, I was introduced to another woman, and in the spirit of the post, she'll remain nameless too. I'll call her F. I have a lot of respect for her.  In telling me her story, she told me how she has come to understand the power of forgiveness. For her it is not an idea for appreciation, but how she has learned to treat those who have hurt her deeply in her life. She lives forgiveness, just as H lives heroism. And she is free as a result to be her true, authentic self.

We are what we do.

As leaders, how we treat people, not what we say for public consumption is what matters. This is what our family saw everyday from our dog Thor.

Monday night, after two weeks of rapidly declining health, Thor, was put down.  Thor was loyal, loving and a part of our family. He didn't care about my intentions or my philosophizing. All he knew were my actions toward him. All he wanted was for me to chase him, to throw firewood to him and rub his head.

Consider today what you do. You only have seconds and feet to take the right actions. There are people around you who are watching, looking for you to act in accordance with what you believe. Ideas matter, but only as they reveal our inner motivation to act. Our actions are mirror of our intentions.

We lead by actions, and our words follow.

Make sure that they are one and the same, and you'll find peace and freedom, and the respect and love of others in return.

Good bye, Thor, my friend. Rest in peace

Being Authentic in Inauthentic Times


At Lolly Daskal's weblog, Elizabeth King introduces a four part series on authenticity with these words.

We find ourselves in an age of personal branding and marketing, of relentless social media and networking, of the end of privacy and the promulgation of a self-crafted identity. An accepted social construct has emerged that allows for endless calls to forget your fears, to embrace your dreams, to listen to your inner voice. And yet in the midst of this media circus we often punctuate the conversation with desperate cries demanding, both for ourselves and of our audience, authenticity.

As the information age eclipsed and replaced the industrial age, it didn't mean that we stopped manufacturing things. Instead we started manufacturing our identities, or as Elizabeth so aptly describes, "a self-crafted identity." The real crisis is in knowing who we truly are, knowing our authentic self, and living an authentic life as a result.

Here are my three suggestions for being authentic in inauthentic times.

1. Stop being so self-conscious. Authentic people do not go around projecting their self-important personality on everyone they encounter. 

The healthiest clients that I've ever had are totally unaware of why they are healthy. Their organization is growing in all the ways that that their industry is not. After spending a lot of time with them, I concluded that they lack a contrived self-importance masked as a corporate brand. You cannot imagine how refreshing it is to work with people who feel no need to tell you how important their organization is. They just love it.

Self-conscious self-importance accounts for most of the trauma that leaders face. Every decision has to be calculated to factor in the "personalization" factor. By this, I mean, someone is interpreting every decision you make and action you take as a personal attack. It is all a part of this culture of self-promotion that is fed by social media and the media in general.

If you want to be an authentic person, stop telling us that you are. Either you are or not, and telling us only confirms that fact that you aren't. Authentic people don't have to tell you they are.

2. Virtual identities are not real identities, and virtual relationships are mimics of real relationships. 

I've had a number of discussions about social media with people who want to convinced me that their online relationships are better and more real than what they encounter with people where they live.  The virtual and local are not different versions of the same thing. They are totally different social contexts. In the virtual world, lived through social media, the measure of a person is in how they use words. The better you are at expressing yourself, the more likely the virtual world is a place of comfort and affirmation.

The real world of local communities measures people by what they do, by their actions. If my neighbor's dog barks all night, and he doesn't do anything about it, then I have a problem with my neighbor. If I don't complete a job on time, it reflects poorly on my ability to do what I commit to doing. The real world is a place of action.

When we bring the world of action into the virtual, as when we use social media to accomplish tasks more easily, then the real and virtual co-mingle in a highly beneficial way. I'm heavily involved in social media, so I don't see the platform as the issue. It is a tool that facilitates human intention. If my intention is to live a narcissistic life of self-promotion, then social media is the right place to do it.

This notion goes to the heart of Elizabeth's introduction.

The problem is, though, if you’ve been living in the United States in the past sixty years ... you’ve been living in a largely inauthentic reality. We live on inauthentic mortgages and credit lines based on inauthentic incomes. We eat mass produced foods that are mere shadows of their original, artisinal selves ...

Our families are more broken than ever and those families live in homes that hope to replicate the great Georgian plantations and the Cape Cod lifestyles of 150 years ago ... We “stage” our homes. We lock our doors.

We botox, dye, and tuck every square inch of ourselves. We binge and purge. We mull over our personal brands. If we stray from the “brand message”, we perceive that we compromise our income-building opportunities. We filter.

And yet we grandstand about authenticity. So? So the problem with authenticity is that it asks that we actually be exactly what we claim to be.

Relationships are hard because we are not personal brands. We are complex beings whose emotional, intellectual, spiritual and physical selves are in a constant dynamic of change. We are social beings who find health, not in self-projection, but in self-giving, in actions of creating and sacrifice.

If you want to be seen as authentic, then be a giver, not a taker. And when you do, you'll find that the virtual becomes more important because it enhances what you can do in the local world where you live and work.

3. Don't tell me, show me your authenticity.

Look at your ad copy. If you are having to use superlative words to enhance what you say you do, then you aren't being authentic. When we have to modify common, simple speech with lots of adjectives and adverbs to communicate who we are, then we are not clear about what it means to be authentic.

If you want to be perceived as an authentic person, then act as one. Don't tell me that you are an authentic leader. I'll know it by the impact of your actions. I'll know it by what people who in no way benefit from saying so, tell me that you are an authentic person. I'll know it because you'll stand out in the virtual world as a voice of reason and wisdom.

If you live this kind of authentic life, then there are three things that are quite possible.

1. Your life will be hard because we live in inauthentic times.

2. You'll find peace because you'll find yourself through the struggle to be the person who is authentic in every sense.

3. You'll find relationships forming with other people who seek to be authentic in all they do. They exist. From those relationships, authentic community is born.

Authenticity is a choice, a calling and the path that awaits each of us.

Quick Takes: Seth Godin on Authenticity

"Authenticity, for me, is doing what you promise, not "being who you are." - Seth Godin

Seth is echoing the wisdom of Aristotle.

Anything that we have to learn to do we learn by the actual doing of it ... we become just by performing just acts, temperate by performing temperate ones, brave by performing brave ones.

We become authentic by performing authentic acts. To act is to be. There is no distinction between who we are and what we do.

I know it is popular to think otherwise. But it is this very delusion that creates the doubt and confusion that many people face every day.  Self-awareness doesn't produce authenticity. Self-awareness comes as a result to doing things that reveal authentic character.

So what do you do? Begin by asking two simple questions.

1. What did I do today?

and then,

2. What difference did my actions make today?

Understanding the difference you made is the begining of understanding what authenticity means. To do is to be. 

Penelope Trunk on Authenticity

I like Penelope Trunk's straightforward approach to professional life. She's a new voice to me that I will look to for genuine insight. I posted on her interview with Guy Kawasaki and then updated it with reference to workplace mythsPenelope has commented on her "myths" exchange with Guy.

Here's her favorite myth.

Myth #9: Create the shiny brand of you!   
There is no magic formula to having a great career except to be you. Really you. Know who you are and have the humility to understand that self-knowledge is a never-ending journey. Figure out how to do what you love, and you’ll be great at it. Offer your true, good-natured self to other people and you’ll have a great network. Those who stand out as leaders have a notable authenticity that enables them to make genuinely meaningful connections with a wide range of people. Authenticity is a tool for changing the world by doing good.

There is more to this thought than meets the eye.
Two thoughts.

One - Authenticity is not a packaged product. It is something more deeply character driven. It is a demonstration of a completeness or wholeness in a person. It is that sense that you get when what you see is truly who they are.  It is more than being comfortable with oneself, more than having a mission, more than being competent.  It isn't so much who you are, but what you contribute, borrowing from Ben Zander. (See my posting on him.)  It is an ability to connect with people at a meaningful level.

Two - There are authentic people and their are authentic experiences. And they tend to arrive in tandem.  It follows what I call my Rule of Thumb, which is that everyone wants their experiences in life to be Personally Meaningful and Socially Fulfilling.  By this I mean, there is some sense of purpose or mission that they are accomplishing, and than that they are doing both with people with whom they have a healthy, caring relationship and that their experience together matters beyond their own pleasure or convenience. 
When you bring a Mission (personally meaningful) together with Values (socially fulfilling) what you find is a Vision for impact.

Authenticity isn't just credibility. There is more to it.  It is part character, part purpose, part relationship, part competence and part serendipity.  Being the right person in the right place for the right people at the right time. It is being a person who can move between the competing demands of the activities of an organization, the relationships with constitutents and remaining focused on the impact that you wish to have, without losing touch with what is truly important.

Authentic experiences that lead to transformational impact begins with the character of the person. For out of character comes the ability to think clearly about mission, related to people in a respectful, honest, collaborative manner and to be able to stay focused on what must be done to achieve a vision of impact.  And do it day in and day out.