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  • Writer's pictureChuck Cusumano

Who? – The Search for Authenticity

By Chuck Cusumano and Jillian Broaddus


Should be on your team?

Should you build relationships with?

Should you go into business with?

Should you go on an adventure with?

Should you surround yourself with?

All of our experience, all of our training, and all of our coaching and consulting work has led us to this answer…

Authentic people!

We define "authentic people" as having the following characteristics:

Authentic people will admit a mistake when they discover or are made aware of it.

Sure, some of us are still working on taking constructive criticism better, but authentic people swallow the bitterness pill and get better because of the medicine. They seek out and willingly accept feedback from others.

Authentic people do what they say, and say what they are going to do.

They say it straight. They are declarative. No fuzzy statements. If they said they would be, they are there with you and for you no matter what. It is not a matter of convenience; it is a matter of conviction. A commitment is a commitment and authentic people do not find excuses.

Authentic people are truth tellers.

They care enough about YOU to tell you the truth, even at the risk of you being upset with them. Why? Because they care about YOU more than they care about what you may think of them. The truth is their North Star, even if telling it comes at a high price to themselves. They do not ignore situations to get along or hope they go away. They can sometimes even seem impolite, but it is because they care – and, ultimately, they care for you.

Authentic people can be extremely vulnerable.

They have done the work to be truthful about themselves. They are mature enough to know that sharing who they are and what they have experienced is an amazing way to build a relationship. They are not trying to hide who they are and they are not trying to impress you with something they think you will accept, nor are they trying to put their issues on you. Rather, they are trying to share who they are by being honest, transparent, and vulnerable, and have a desire to know you for who you are.

Authentic people are selfless!

It is not that they do not have desires and wants of their own. They are selfless because they put others' needs above or before their own desires or wants. But for many, it really is what they desire – to serve others. They ultimately get what they want by assisting others to achieve what they want.

So if you are looking to add people to your team, if you are searching for new friendships, if you are looking for a good business partner, or if you are trying to find the correct vendors to do business with, make sure you are on the lookout for the "authentic people" around you. They can sometimes be a little prickly – you know all the truth-telling, over-sharing, constructive-criticism-offering, challenging-you-to-be-your-best-self kinds of people. But having an authentic person in your circle will change the quality of your work and your life!

If you are trying to figure out who those authentic people are or how to spot them in a crowd, contact us at We love to help build and create authentic teams!

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