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Yeast, the Sun,


and Leadership.



I get (and agree with) what Paul Ryan’s advice to Mr. Obama was all about when he visited the White House yesterday and reminded the man that “leadership starts at the top,” but I take some exception to the semantics of what that advice might suggest as it is applied to the rest of the world. 


Leadership, like yeast, like the sun on the horizon, rises from low places. It starts, often below the surface, and grows to recognition, then to love and respect or –sadly, in many cases– to fear and loathing, with little room left in-between those two extremes for tolerance and apathy. The problem is that yeast and the sun are fairly predictable.

Some aspects of leadership are also predictable.

Qualities like being able to inspire and motivate others, for example, are part of almost every description of leadership since the beginning of time.

Truth and reality, however, measure all leadership by one word alone.

What’s your best guess?

What single word sums up “leadership” most definitively?


Surely you know the word if you think about it enough. It’s authenticity. Authenticity of character, of personality, of purpose, of attitude, of responsiveness, of courage, of self-image, of the nature of the people involved, of the nature of the tasks to be done. It cannot be manufactured, pretended, stolen, replaced, avoided, dismissed, disregarded, or disarmed.  

Almost never to be found near government or political enterprises or management: authenticity. And rarely does it appear in corporate life when it isn’t guarded — easy to understand when UN-authentic people hovering at the top feel threatened. Yet, say many, true authenticity must also be free, so how could it be guarded?

Okay, so cross off corporate authenticity. And what are we left with? Family life and small business. Why? Because there is less need to lie, make excuses, and cover one’s butt, and because entrepreneurial attitudes are not so affected and convoluted by status-ladder-climbing and artificial allegiances.


TEN EXAMPLES of authenticity:

  1. Giving credit where credit is due.

  2. Speaking up for what you believe in and supporting others who share your purpose.

  3. Accepting responsibility without excuses.

  4. Acknowledging screw-ups and owning up to your mistakes, also without excuses.

  5. Taking immediate corrective action when called for instead of analyzing and seeking blame.

  6. Being focused on the present “here and now” moment as much as possible.

  7. Always acknowledging the human factor in every decision and action, even when others pass it over. Business transactions are impacted by illness, injury, and family issues.

  8. Nurturing (and cultivating) positive and productive behavior and attitudes consistently.

  9. Soliciting and respecting the opinions of others . . . praise in public and criticize (constructively) in private.

  10. Treat every employee and every customer like the special people they are, the way YOU want to be treated, every day, all of the time, without exception.  


How do you measure up, stack up, size up, match up? What three steps do you need to take now to give rise to more of that authenticity you have inside you? Can you take that first step right now?

It is, you know, a choice. 


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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

2 comments so far


  1. Susan/TogetherWeFlourishon 02 Jun 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Some once told me that the true measure of a good person is someone who always tries to do the right thing. Perhaps that is only true if It’s authentic?

  2. Hal Alpiaron 03 Jun 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Hey Susan – Thank you once again for your visit, comment and perceptive provoking! My response to the comment you share is that I believe that being authentic means never having to TRY to do anything. If it doesn’t come naturally and genuinely, it’s not authentic. You, on the other hand, certainly never need worry about that bit of philosophical tangle since I have always experienced you as the real deal. You –in my experience– are as authentic an example as I can think of! Have a great week ahead! Best as always – Hal

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