Today is a bit of a milestone for me. This is my 200th blog post and I wanted to make it something special. The first thing that came to mind was some marketing campaign or effort to create buzz. You know, all the things one is supposed to do regarding a blogging achievement. I simply couldn’t bring myself to do that. I’ve never been much of a hype machine and probably never will.

I wanted to be authentic for this particular post, which brings me to a place where I want to be vulnerable with you. I mean the kind of vulnerability no one wants to do publicly. I want to personally thank Heather Coleman-Voss and her husband Paul Voss for the encouragement to write this post and the kick in the pants to help make it happen. I love our friendship…thank you!

vulnerableI’m an entrepreneur – through and through. I love the idea of jumping in over my head and letting anxiety, fear, a challenge and the chance to succeed at something to motivate my swim to the surface. If you’re not an entrepreneur, you may think I’m mentally imbalanced. If you are, your heart rate just went up about 10 bps.

In the process of creating something, you become exposed to certain pressures. You want things. You want to be perceived in a certain way by certain groups of people because you believe – or are taught – that those perceptions can be the difference between success and failure. Maybe that’s accurate in some way. Maybe it isn’t.

I caved to one of those pressures and it happened early in the game for me. As a business leader, it is easy to fall into the cycle of presenting yourself and your company as you want it to be seen. This puts you in a place where, for the sake of what you want to consider as PR, you stretch the boundaries of truth a bit. Nothing overt or nefarious, but rather suggestions that make room for perceptions to develop.

My biggest faux pas was the misuse of one simple word – we. Read through some older blog posts and the website. The Leadership Advisor, as a company, is structured – through language alone – to appear to have a number of employees; simply by the repetitive use of a two-letter pronoun. Currently, this brand is me. I have people I turn to for help and support, but I am the “staff”.

I unapologetically believe in what The Leadership Advisor represents and the value it creates for companies. No question. What I DON’T want, is for that value to be jeopardized in any way through a misrepresentation of how many people currently work with or for the company.

I have been speaking with a number of professionals in various regions around North America, Scandinavia and Europe over the past few months because I want to have more people working with The Leadership Advisor brand. This is a direction in which the company must move and is poised to move. I couldn’t, in good conscience, go on about authentic leadership in blog posts, social media updates and other messages of the brand without writing this post. Call it a baring of my soul, vacuuming my conscious or a PR stunt. It doesn’t matter to me. I can’t expect anyone who comes to partner with The Leadership Advisor to be authentic and genuine if I’m not and the representation of the brand is not.

I try very hard to put as much value in each of my blog posts because you deserve that from me. I hope the value you find in this post is one of encouragement. I hope that I have encouraged you – as my friends Heather and Paul did for me – to lead more authentically. It is my wish that my vulnerability strengthens you to do that thing you know you need to do in order to be the leader you want to be…even if it scares the crap out of you.

This was a difficult post for me to write. I don’t know what kind of response I should expect. It may do damage to The Leadership Advisor brand, or it may add more credibility to it. It’s a gamble and it’s a risk. Leadership is a risk and as the leader of this brand, I am happy to stand out front and take what comes.

What risk do you need to take to be a more authentic leader?

 

  • William,
    This took a lot of courage! I love this for your 200th post – I think many, many people had taken this approach in the early days. Kudos to you for acknowledging the need for more transparency…I am very proud to be your friend and colleague.

    Heather

  • Thank you for your encouragement and support Heather. I feel good about the post. It needed to be said. I hope it inspires others, but it was definitely something I needed to do.

  • Great post William and so very courageous of you to make yourself vulnerable like that. You, my sweetheart Angela Goodeve and myself recently shared a delightful moment in Detroit and for this we are truly grateful. You are a very genuine and caring person and leader. The We discourse you refer to I have never come across on your brand however you can rest assured that wherever you will go I will be standing next to you and be supportive. I respect and admire people that make themselves vulnerable – which I view as I sign of great courage. You are clearly all of these beautiful qualities my friend. Congratulations on achieving such an important milestone for yourself. Take the time to enjoy with your loved ones and remain unstoppable!
    Your friend,
    Johann

  • Congratulations on your 200th post William! That is a huge accomplishment and it should be celebrated!! Your honesty is endearing and inspirational. You are leading the way and creating an open environment to share mistakes that we have made and we all make them. I am so grateful to have discovered your blog thanks to Johann Gauthier of #HRrockstars.

  • So many kind words Johann. I appreciate your support and encouragement my friend. Thank you for the willingness to stand shoulder to shoulder with me. It means a lot!

  • Thank you Nora. Writing this post has taught me the value of being courageous and authentic, even in the face of fear and uncertainty. Taking the higher road is a hallmark of leadership and I can’t challenge others until I have walked that road myself. I appreciate your comments!

  • Congratulations on your 200th post, William! It’s fitting that such a milestone be recognized in a significant manner. Your vulnerability only speaks to your great strength of character. Thank you for trusting us, your readers, followers and friends, enough to correct a misconception. Being vulnerable is hard. It takes courage, and it makes you more believable as a leader. Well done!

  • Thanks for your encouraging words Tara. It has been an amazing response to this post, both publicly and privately. I appreciate you!

  • Amy

    As an virtualEA I scan for, review, and post Leadership topics for #MinistryBriefing.tv — when I stumbled upon this post…
    I LOVED it! Congrats on your very successful, REAL, relevant & enjoyable 200th blog post! It was a great read & we just had to share it on our website. I hope that you might visit & view my summary/intro, about your article, to our reader’s. It was an intro that highlights your perfect landing points, questions & story sharing. I believe it will be quite a refreshing breath of air when others dive in to read & come up with a new perspective!

  • Thanks for letting me know about the value you found in this post, Amy. I appreciate you sharing it and hope your readers find as much value as you did in this post!

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