Organizational Authenticity


I recently started listening to the Harvard Business Review Ideacast podcast. Today I enjoyed a thought-provoking Q&A with the author of Why Should Anyone Work Here, the topic of which was authentic organizations. The authors stated that authentic organizations share the following six criteria:

  • Difference beyond diversity. I want to work in an organization were I can be myself.
  • Radical Honesty. Tell me the truth before someone else does.
  • Extra Value. Add value, don’t exploit me, develop me.
  • Authenticity. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Don’t change the mission statement every three years because there’s widespread cynicism about that.
  • Meaning. I want a meaningful job in an organization which itself has meaning.
  • Simple Rules. I want to live and work in an organization which has created, agreed, simple rules, and not a fog of bureaucracy.

If you’re quick, you’ve noticed that the six words form the mnemonic DREAMS, which the authors use to say that an authentic organization is the “organization of your dreams”.

Easier said than done when you talk about creating an authentic organization, or transforming a highly political organization into an authentic one. But according to the authors, the long-term benefits of pursuing authenticity far outweigh the momentary struggle.


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