Garbage Truck - Authentic (Blue Lobster) Business Building

Photo by Zena C

Here’s some more on the topic of building authenticity, specifically answering the question:

How do you build an authentic business from a personal vs. professional view?

What is meant by personal vs professional authenticity?  I’ll explain more from a previous post – HELP ME … in Building and Authentic Business, with examples from future baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza and a local garbage truck.

Building Authenticity – Personally

Mike Piazza was selected in the 62nd round of the 1988 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft out of Miami-Dade Community College with the 1390th overall pick by the LA Dodgers as a personal favor by the manager Tommy Lasorda to Mike’s father.  The two were childhood friends.  Now for all you non-baseball fans, here’s a little perspective – there are only 750 active players in the entire major leagues during the regular season.  Significance, or rather, Dan what in the world does that have to do with anything about my business??? …  It’s not just “that” he overcame great odds in making it, it’s “how” he overcame those odds.  Bear with me for just a bit more, you’ll be glad you did!

Mike was told very candidly what his strengths were and what his weaknesses were.  Then he was told his best shot to even make it was to learn an entirely new position (catcher)!  What came next is the stuff that makes legends.  (Or at least sports fan-web marketing-bloggers to write posts about.) He worked harder than anyone else year round – catching clinics in the Dominican Republic, snow shoveling outdoor batting cage sessions on Christmas eve etc. – to become the greatest hitting catcher of all-time.  Again, the significance?

IF we are completely honest with ourselves on our skill levels, our experiences, our strengths and our weaknesses, THEN we can chart a course to building a remarkable business.  You see our business success will be driven by our complete honesty and teachability. Followed up with the perseverance to fill in what we’re lacking.

A few personal authenticity test questions:

  • Are we who we say we are … consistently?
  • Do we represent the same personally to all customer persona types?
  • Do we honestly present our skills and experience regardless of the potential client or payout?
  • Are we willing to eat some humble pie, roll up our sleeves and really work hard?
  • Are we willing to pay the dues to be authentic people?

[quote]Authentic people are the foundation of an authentic business.[/quote]

Building Authenticity – Professionally

Many years ago my father showed me the perfect example of professional authenticity.  In a time (long ago and a place far, far away … I digress) when there were more smaller companies, he was looking for a reliable garbage company to get our trash on a weekly basis.  Apparently he found THE one, as he asked much to their shock for a stack of business cards.  To which he then proceeded to hand out to the entire neighborhood with a personal testimony.

What made this company so worth my Dad’s word of mouth marketing campaign?  Simply said – they did exactly what they said they would do … every single time.  There was no hiding behind corporate policies.  There was no making excuses for sub-par employees.  They just flat out did what the company said it would do.  In this case, collect our families trash on a specific day each week, at a specific time.

A few professional authenticity test questions:

  • What is your company’s mission or promise when getting hired? … And, do you deliver on that completely?
  • When any employee (even you, especially you) fails … do you own the failure and redeliver? Overdeliver?
  • Do we honestly present the company’s credentials regardless of the potential client or payout?
  • Are we willing to pay the dues to be an authentic business?

The “phantom of perfection” is not what customers are looking for.  They are looking for consistent delivered professionalism, and that authentic people can always do.

[quote]Authentic businesses are built upon authentic people.[/quote]

If you want to see your business not just survive, but thrive, then you’ll want to take an honest assessment about your personal and professional authenticity.  Authentic businesses are the ones that friends tell friends about.  People talk about “blue lobsters”.  Let’s work in such a way that our customers are asking for ways to tell their business neighbors about our remarkable products and services.

I’d love to hear about your authentic experiences – the good and the “lessons learned”.  Go ahead and leave a comment below sharing.

Dan Wadleigh