The Web 2.0 has brought something refreshing to the forefront; the voice of the individual in the marketplace. That voice is demanding something genuine and refuses to accept anything less than authenticity from those with whom it chooses to interact. This craving for individuals and companies who have authenticity as an integral part of their business model seems to be gaining momentum with no real end in sight.

Such a paradigm shift in the marketplace has created a fracture in what was otherwise an airtight world of business. Sure, you had the occasional company or individual who broke through the traditional barriers of the business world, but that was more the exception. Now, it is fast becoming the rule of business. With a whole new breed of entrepreneurs who are authentic and innovative engaging their perspective clients and customer base, the “old school” businesses find themselves scurrying about trying to create processes and programs in order to duplicate how this is being accomplished by their new-found competitors.

Are you able to see the difference between the two? The entrepreneurs and companies who are gaining momentum in the marketplace are the ones who are leading from their heart, a place of authenticity. These men and women are doing out of who they are; they are not trying to position who they want to be perceived to be based on what they do. What does having someone who follows a prescribed process have to do with authenticity or innovation?

Many companies who are losing ground in the marketplace would be well advised to stop trying to make innovation a process to be followed for the sake of insulating their bottom line. The average consumer has become much more intuitive to the marketplace and demands authenticity and innovation that make a difference in their lives. Innovation cannot be duplicated, it can only be created.

As a leader, you will do well to first lead yourself and make sure you are being authentic to who you want to be as a leader. Don’t focus on money, power, prestige, or any of those other attributes that we have so erroneously attached to leadership. What positive impact do you want to leave on humanity before you die? That is a great place to start. Lead yourself from that place and innovation will be a natural by-product. Encourage others to do the same. Create an environment where your team has the freedom to have enough autonomy and individuality to bring that special something that only they can bring to the team.

Money follows passion and innovation, so let’s just stop being so hung up on the bottom line. This isn’t a call to abandon fiscal responsibility. It is simply recognizing the need to get our priorities in line with what serves others best. When you serve the needs of others, you will be loved for it and that is the innovation that changes the world and breeds true success. Be authentic, be innovative, love and serve others, and lead well. All the rest will fall into place.