Embracing Authenticity: The Heartfelt Path to Remaining Relevant in a Disruptive World.

larry levine Oct 30, 2023
Embracing Authenticity: The Heartfelt Path to Remaining Relevant in a Disruptive World.

Leaders who can connect, relate, influence and inspire their teams to action are critical to business success.

And why I believe this Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast quote hits the mark, 

"People would rather follow a leader that is real than one that is always right."

According to a study in the Leadership and Organization Development Journal, employees' perception of authentic leadership serves as the strongest predictor in job satisfaction and positively impacts work-related attitudes and happiness.

In addition, research detailed in the Harvard Business Review shows that a majority of employees believe authenticity in the workplace leads to:

  • Better relationships with colleagues
  • Higher levels of trust
  • Greater productivity
  • A more positive working environment

On a Greenbiz webcast, former Unilever CEO Paul Polman mentioned, 

“CEOs today have a knowledge gap and a courage gap. They don’t know all. They need to ask for help. Be human and show vulnerability. Do that, and people will want to work for you."

An authentic leader who leads from the heart, soon starts to develop a culture and a team that sells from the heart.

Authentic leaders have high standards of integrity, take responsibility for their actions, and make decisions based on principle rather than short-term success. 

They allow their inner compasses to guide their daily actions, which enables them to earn the trust of their employees, peers, and shareholders by creating work environments that boost team morale and performance.

Authentic leaders strive to create meaningful relationships throughout the organization as they work toward goals related to their mission and purpose, not just the bottom line.

These leaders stay true to themselves as their guide their company with authenticity and extreme focus. The constantly are looking into the mirror, asking themselves...

Why does this company exist and who does it exist for?

To remain relevant in a disruptive world, allow this quote by Wilmer Valderrama to sink in,

"There comes a time in your life where you're called to not only reinvent yourself but to rebuild your spirit. It's so relevant today."

Therefore, I ask all executives out there... 

Are you willing to guide your people to adapt, adopt and adjust to the circumstances of today.

In today's highly competitive world...

Are you willing to embrace authenticity and lead with a servant's heart.

To help set up our remaining time together, allow this quote from Charles Darwin to sink in, 

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

I ask you to carefully think about this...

Let's say there are 5 companies in your marketplace, all of them provide similar services, solutions and products to that of your company...

  • What makes your salespeople different?
  • What makes your salespeople standout?
  • What makes your salespeople relevant?

Relevance. Everybody wants to be and remain relevant.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “relevant” as: having direct bearing on the matter at hand; pertinent. 

Conversely, “irrelevant” means: not relating or pertinent to the matter at hand; not important.

"If your customer base is aging with you, then eventually you are going to become obsolete or irrelevant. You need to be constantly figuring out who are your new customers and what are you doing to stay forever young."
Jeff Bezos


I believe the time is now for all executives to rise-up, take action and take control.

Embracing authenticity is a lifestyle, not a light switch.

Are you willing to put your arms around authenticity as you create the pathway to relevancy for you, your organization and your salespeople to thrive in today's disruptive business environment? 

Are you willing to "lift up the hood" of the revenue generating portion of your organization, your sales team, to unpack the good, the bad and the opportunities to improve?

To quote my friend and strategic partner, Dave Kurlan of Kurlan and Associates,

"6% of salespeople are 'elites' who are great at selling. Another 20% are doing well but could do better. Then there are 74% who are failing. Most of the people in the 74% bracket can improve if they get training. But the bottom 25% are hopeless, because in addition to being ineffective, they aren't trainable. Those people should be doing something else."

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What sets your salespeople apart? Why should businesses choose your salespeople? Or learn from them? Or listen to them? Or do business with them? Or even have a conversation with them?

Are your salespeople truly exceptional? If you answered yes, WHY do you think so?

What do they specifically bring to the business table that makes them stand out from the rest of the sales wolf pack?

I encourage you to look in the mirror, think about your salespeople and now ask yourself...

  • Are my salespeople making a difference?
  • Are my salespeople going the extra mile for our clients?
  • Are my salespeople serving others?
  • Are my salespeople developing a deep, genuine concern for our clients?

Tough questions, aren't they? 

Are your salespeople traveling on the highway of relevancy, and for that matter, are you?


What are you and your salespeople doing to become RELEVANT? 

The pathway to relevancy starts with authenticity. The talk must match the walk. 

It's all about being congruent. And this all starts with you.

In this highly competitive digitally driven business environment, it is mission critical to stay relevant, competitive, marketable and yes, desirable. 

"Truth is in the eye of the beholder."

Relatable and relevant... How well do you think this applies to you and your salespeople, as you all are building meaningful relationships with your clients?

Have you ever asked your clients how relevant your salespeople are to them and their business growth?

I will leave that one for all of you to ponder.


We as human beings want to be heard, we want to know we matter, and we just want to be loved (or even just liked). When we feel accepted, we perform better, we become a bit more relaxed and we don't come across as being insecure.

I believe being relatable will allow your salespeople to stand out from the competition. I believe your clients are waiting for your salespeople to show them who they really are and to share their story.

When you’re relatable, it’s easy to spark a conversation.

Your salespeople must be present in their client relationships. They must make their clients feel like they're the only thing that matters. They must speak from their heart.

Are you present with your salespeople?

Are you speaking from your heart with your salespeople?

Are you creating an authentic culture for your salespeople to thrive in?

The way you connect to your salespeople... Do you believe this has an impact in how they connect to their clients?


Authenticity requires action, plain and simple.

To quote Brené Brown,

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” 

I would encourage you to start having meaningful conversations with your salespeople by offering a compelling vision of the future and how you can prepare them for it.

I would encourage you to bring a vision cemented in a deep understanding of the trends shaping the market, industry challenges and how you will help to transform your salespeople.

Authenticity comes from finding your style and your way of leading. This must reflect your ethics, values, and your personality.

Leadership and your success start with how well you embrace authenticity. 

As leaders, your salespeople will trust you when you are true to yourselves. Without trust, it becomes impossible to consistently move the revenue needle. 

Leaders who are clear about building trust are better able to be authentic without being irrelevant.

Your image can be either an asset or a liability for you as a leader.

I will leave you all with this to think about courtesy of Adam Grant,

"Authenticity means erasing the gap between what you firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world."

Originally published on Larry Levine's LinkedIn.

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