Authenticity – the cornerstone of collaboration

Posted by Janice Scheckter on 16 June 2016 11:55 AM CAT

The word authenticity appears often in collaborative essays and blogs. As I keep reading I find myself questioning what this actually means. There is the concept of authenticity that builds trust – which is really essential to the survival and sustainability of the collaborative environment. But what does authenticity really mean?

Collaborative activists like me, talk collaboration in every possible situation. Often we’re talking to business leaders who are boomers. They come from the command and control space. Their nature by habit is to enter a meeting with the intent to voice opinion and influence outcome. You can’t question the authenticity of that, but how do we gently nudge these brilliantly minded, talented leaders into a completely different space where command and control is in essence – dead? And how do we do this while ensuring that authenticity is not lost? I don’t think it’s easy, but I do believe that open-minded leaders, who understand that this change is inevitable, can do it.

It’s like going from believing that the world is flat and that if we keep walking, we’ll just slip off the edge, to knowing that the world is round and as we keep walking, the experiences will change, but we’ll be okay.

Authenticity is entering a room and believing that the ideas that emerge may be better than the idea we thought up on our own. Authenticity comes from listening and hearing. Authenticity is about the right to disagree but not because of rank. Finally, I think that authenticity in the collaborative world is about truly celebrating the collective outcome without wanting to lay claim to it. To find one’s authenticity in collaboration, it’s essential to believe in the concept of collective thinking and ideation and to reach this point, authenticity needs to be embedded in the culture, top down and bottom up. 

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Janice Scheckter is a collaborative activist, a boomer and still at times struggles with the idea that the collective will produce good ideas, but she believes it’s a work in progress.




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