Authenticity. An absolute essential to successful and profitable business which supports quality talent retention, acquisition and engagement. When in the process of developing something, authentication is part and parcel of that process. Without authentication, things seem to lose their validity and effectiveness. I could drone on about the various ways to authenticate something, but I think it’s important to address another area around the subject of authentication. What are you authenticating?

Often times, organizations strive to authenticate or validate something they view as having value or benefit. This could be a process or group of tasks to achieve a business objective or goal. The real challenge comes in when what you’re trying to authenticate is viewed as unhealthy, unethical or simply not in line with your organizational values/vision. This breeds an atmosphere of “whatever” among people in the organization and productivity slows or, in a worst case scenario, almost stops altogether.

One of the most common whatever producing things attempted to be authenticated within organizations is a superficial culture. One in which butt-kissing and sucking up are tolerated, or even encouraged. A culture where the rewards and recognition program hinges only on performance, regardless of the amount of bloody carcasses left on the path behind the person who is the “top performer”.

When you reward feral and lascivious behavior for the sake of making a profit or big-noting yourself in front of the right people, you are setting yourself up to self-destruct or compromise your future viability through potential ethics violations. An organization can follow the letter of the law and still hurt your brand image in the court of public opinion.

There isn’t an organization around that benefits from the development of an Us vs. Them mentality. Having employees stand on opposing sides of the same issue because of the authentication of a superficial culture is the beginning of the end for an organization. To believe otherwise is ignorant and not much more than the equivalent of sticking your head in the sand and hoping things will be better when you pull your head out of that hole.

By all means, authenticate what you value but be sure what you value is what will support your vision, mission and values that will achieve organizational objectives. I’m pretty confident that your goals and objectives don’t include pitting employees one against the other as a way to earn more money. Take a hard look at your culture and ask yourself, “Is our culture superficial?”

If you’re not sure, think about people whom you deem superficial. What are their qualities? What actions do they do? What kind of relational dynamics do they perpetuate? Compare those answers to how things function within your organization. Once you’ve located the challenges, you are more empowered to implement a strategy that will authenticate the culture you truly wish to have in your organization.