Authentic Alignment – The New Brand of High Performers

Will your team be one of the 50% that will exceed expectations or line up with the 50% that underachieve? Tapping into the power of authentic alignment is a solid strategy that will go a long way to ensuring your team is much more likely to be a consistent overachiever. It’s the one thing any team can do to “make its own luck” navigating through so much of the uncertainty and randomness that can get in the way of success.

Authenticity is the new platinum for high-performing individuals and teams. Today’s high achievers thrive on being authentic and are highly motivated by authentic leaders. They are inspired by organizations they believe are authentic and are supercharged when working with others that act authentically.

In an article published in the MIT Sloan Management Review, Daniel M. Cable, Francesa Gino and Brandley R. Staats cited the importance of authenticity as a fundamental virtue in supporting a high level of confidence demonstrated by the highest achievers. “For several decades psychologists have suggested that people have a deep desire to behave authentically and to have others acknowledge the true attributes of their identities. To be authentic, people must align their internal experiences (such as feelings, values and perspectives) with their external expressions. They want others to see them as they see themselves. There is an abundance of research showing that authentic self-expression is the key component of high self-esteem.”

Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones in their work titled Creating the Best Workplace on Earth, published in Harvard Business Review, add further credence to the importance of authenticity, “Recent research by our London Business School colleague Dan Cable shows that employees who feel welcome to express their authentic selves at work exhibit higher levels of organizational commitment, individual performance and propensity to help others.”

Our firm’s work over the past 10 years helping clients build authentically aligned cultures has proven how authenticity is highly valued by the highest achievers. Authenticity is not a luxury or new trendy value or the latest feel-good personal development mantra. Our experience clearly indicates that authenticity is a common attribute of high performing individuals. We have consistently observed this as thousands of individuals have used our proprietary personal brand development process to discover the alignment they have with their employer. Authenticity is not a luxury or new trendy value or the latest feel-good personal development mantra. Our experience clearly indicates that authenticity is a common attribute of high performing individuals. We have consistently observed this as thousands of individuals have used our proprietary personal brand development process to discover the alignment they have with their employer.

Authenticity has always been at the core of all strong personal brands/high performers. Research strongly suggests individuals who feel they can consistently act authentically are much happier and maintain higher levels of self-esteem. Those individuals that discover a way to align their authentic qualities with the interests of their employer are consistently successful and high achievers. Authenticity builds strength from within; alignment applies that inner strength to achieve.

Authentic alignment creates performance to the powerx. The alignment must be holistic; connecting employees to the organization and its customers to deliver the high performance. To make it work employees must believe they are authentically aligned with the organization they work for. They must also believe the organization is authentic and aligned with its customers. Believing there is authentic employee-organization-customer alignment creates authenticity3. This super-level of aligned authenticity inspires employees because they know their authentic strengths make a difference for customers. It’s accomplishment that is more personal and less corporate. Authenticity3 provides individuals with the confidence that their commitment to authenticity is a real asset in their on-going success.

Based upon 10+ years of experience our firm has found that creating and fostering authentic alignment doesn’t have to be complicated or cumbersome and can have immediate impact on business results.

Tap into the Power of Customer-Inspired, Authentically Aligned Cultures

Brand Tool Box has developed and implemented a process we describe as customer-inspired, authentic alignment. (The formal name for the process is Power of Brand Alignment.) The framework of customer-inspired, authentic alignment is built upon three pillars; 1) the authenticity of the individual, i.e., their personal brand; 2) the authenticity and customer focus of the organization, i.e., its brand and 3) the leveraged and focused effort that results from the alignment of the two “brands.” One of the foundational principles of this process is to align the authentic qualities of employees-company-customers – creating authenticity3. This innovative process boosts the organic strengths of the culture by focusing the authentic strengths of employees’ personal brands on the critical behaviors that will deliver the most value for customers. And nourish employees’ desire for authenticity in their work.

What are the key characteristics of a culture built on customer-inspired, authentic alignment?

  1. The organization values and encourages employees to act based upon their authentic values.
  2. Employees must be given the tools and a process to define their values and personal brand. The next step is to provide the training and coaching to help individuals to align and apply those qualities in various situations and relationships.
  3. The organization or team clearly defines its authentic operating ethos and demonstrates how the core elements of the ethos show up as behaviors that are applied to critical success factors. 
  4. Employees are encouraged to discover their authentic alignment with the operating ethos of the team with the specific intent of discovering where they can leverage their authentic strengths and values to contribute to the success of the team. The implicit promise is that employees will be successful by being more of who they are, i.e., acting authentically. This sense of authentic alignment will inspire over-achievement.

Customer-inspired authentic alignment is a powerful and proven framework to inspire high achievement. It’s powerful because it’s personal and encourages individuals to be more of who they are. It’s powerful because it focuses teams on delivering what’s most important to customers, the basis for achieving success for the business or a team’s objectives. It’s proven because it uses reliable tools that have been widely implemented. Organizations and teams implementing a customer-inspired authentic alignment process will have the “special sauce” that separates the overachievers from the underachievers.

Here are some lessons learned from implementing a customer-inspired authentic aligned framework.

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