From navigating new methods of closing deals, to landing get that next promotion, to understanding new norms of leadership, authenticity is the key to success.
Today’s guest post is by Dr. Sharon Lamm-Hartman, author of The Authenticity Code: The Art and Science of Success and Why You Can’t Fake It to Make It (CLICK HERE to get your copy).
I was once approached by an executive assistant by the name of Viola (real name withheld for anonymity) who was in attendance at one of our 5-day Authenticity Code™ programs. She confided in me, and with tears in her eyes, that she didn’t know why she was not being promoted. She stated that she had watched many peers get jobs that she would have loved to get, but she never got selected when she did land an interview. When I heard about her struggle, my heart sank. Viola was a black woman in her thirties, and she felt stuck at her current level. I asked her what her dream job would be, and she passionately said that she wanted to be a VP of this Fortune 50 company, which at the time, only had 300 VP’s out of about 160,000 employees.
Viola started on the path to finding her authentic self, which can be done by cracking open the Authenticity Code – which is your presence + your audience + your presentation = your success. Viola defined her authentic brand statement, looked at what authentic presence qualities she needed to grow in – including confidence. She got at the core of what was blocking her which was she didn’t believe in herself. In the program, she put together an exceptional presentation that she used to influence critical senior leaders in the company. Her idea ended up saving the company millions of dollars. And I am ecstatic to say that today just seven years after she took our program, Viola has mastered the art and science of success because she achieved her authentic brand and is a VP in that same Fortune 50 company. She was promoted up five levels, from executive assistant to VP in seven years which is faster than anyone else I know in that company.
Authenticity is the key to getting your dream job, closing a big sale, feeling more fulfilled, and getting to yes in any presentation or communication. Authenticity is your most powerful way of adding value by expressing your unique gifts and talents to your chosen audience. Think about it- do you buy from or want to work with someone who is inauthentic and has no leadership presence?
According to the Center for Talent Innovation, leadership presence counts for at least 26% of whether you get selected for a job or promotion. This is also true for whether you make a big sale or another positive business impact. That percentage can be substantial in terms of professional and personal growth, something I have seen firsthand.
COVID-19 has had an immeasurable impact on the business world. Company hiring practices have changed, as have workplace culture and leadership norms. Companies face hiring shortages. With companies forced to reevaluate how they approach their day-to-day business, individuals have also been forced to adapt. From navigating new methods of closing deals to determining how to get that next promotion to understanding new methods of leadership, many have found the need to acclimate to the changing world. This has been called the Great Reassessment.
The question is, how do individuals and businesses make a change once they have reassessed? What is the secret to realizing your true potential and achieving your goals in the post-pandemic world? From my experience, authenticity is the key to professional and personal success. So how does one become more authentic, and what is necessary to improve those skills?
There are three key elements on which to focus. First, your presence, such as warmth, sincerity, confidence, integrity, trustworthiness, and even your body language will help you better communicate your message. Connecting with your own authentic brand statement is critical in improving your authentic presence. This is a statement that expresses what you want out of your career and what is your greatest professional/leadership gift to give no matter what job you hold.
Second, understanding your audience and tailoring your message to that audience will greatly improve your presentation skills. Before you go into a big meeting or start writing a big presentation, ask yourself 4 simple questions: 1) What is most important to my audience? 2) What details do they need? 3) What hooks them to listen? and 4) What are they willing to compromise (e.g., cost, schedule, quality). It is an authentic choice to be in front of an audience, so you want to do everything you can to help give your audience what they need.
Third, is your presentation itself. There is a simple formula for presentation success: 1) Attention Getting Opening, 2) Executive Summary, 3) Agenda with Clear Body Message, and 4) Finish Strong.
Over my more than two-decade-long career, I have seen thousands of clients like Viola who work on their authentic presence and presentation skills, get promoted, land their dream job, and feel considerably more fulfilled. Crack the authenticity code by developing ‘Your Presence + Your Audience + Your Presentation = Your Success’. Focusing on these factors is the secret to improving your professional and leadership development.
Dr. Sharon Lamm-Hartman is the Founder and CEO of Inside Out Learning, Inc. (IOL), an award‐winning global leadership, team and organization development consulting business. In addition to running IOL, with a doctorate in Leadership Development from Columbia University, and a Masters from Cornell University, Dr. Sharon is a global executive and presentation skills coach, leadership and organization development consultant, speaker, writer, educator, wife and mom. Dr. Sharon has worked with tens of thousands of CEOs, executives, educators, professionals, and entrepreneurs worldwide. She has been an Adjunct Faculty Member at Columbia University and the Center for Creative Leadership. Her new book, The Authenticity Code™: The Art and Science of Success and Why You Can’t Fake It to Make It is available for preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and was named a top business book to read this fall by Texas CEO Magazine.
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