Authenticity & Adaptation: Partners Not Enemies in Success

Authenticity is touted as critical to success in leadership and business in the 21st century. Authenticity is the spirit of the day with young entrepreneurs and new generations in the workplace. It is the ever present success formula from brand strategists and marketing experts.

Meanwhile adaptation is also critical to success. Leaders, teams, and businesses that cannot adapt to change, fail in the long run. Adapting to market conditions, generational differences, cultural diversity, customer expectations, and the mindset of venture capitalists brings success.

There are many who see authenticity and adaptation as mutually exclusive and at war with each other. This view drives their extreme behavior.

Some think adaptation defines a chameleon so they cling to authenticity. Those who crave acceptance constantly adapt and lose authenticity as they meld into the crowd.

Extremes like this lead businesses, leaders, and individuals to unnecessary mistakes. Authenticity & adaptation are partners, not enemies, in success.

Authenticity & adaptation are partners not enemies.

Builds clarity & customer trust in your brand
Prevents groupthink on teams
Inspires and engages employee talent
Develops trust between leaders & team collaborators

Keeps your brand current and competitive
Builds bonds for teamwork
Develops your versatility to capture possibilities

The extreme view can grip anyone or any company during tough times. Consider Coca Cola’s historic move to crush Pepsi Co. so they adapted Coke to taste like Pepsi — with disastrous results. Or IBM’s refusal in the early 90’s to adapt and embrace outside influences until the stock price plummeted. Witness online rudeness, labeled as authentic and necessary for honest discourse. Yet honesty and civility can coexist.

Thwart the power of the extreme view:

  1. Evolve and test your purpose regularly. An up-to-date mission gives you clarity when the cloud of stress and tough times move in.
  2. Gather and consider quantitative and qualitative information. Seek other views.
  3. When you are comfortable, stretch. When you are uncomfortable, question your motives before you act.

When adaptation is driven purely by fear, greed, or insecurity, stick with authenticity.

When comfort, arrogance, ignorance, selfishness or fear of change masquerades as authenticity, it’s time to adapt.

How have you found the balance between authenticity and adaptation in your leadership, or business, or teamwork?

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, is known for taking corporate teams from inspiration to action during times of great change. Her workshops on teamwork, transitions, and customer relations continue to deliver stellar results.

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