August 19, 2003


The Beyond Branding Blog

More on authenticity
I'm continuing to enjoy David Boyle's excellent book, Authenticity. (See earlier blog here).

What Boyle is consistently good at is showing how elusive a quality authenticity is. This is not an easy, idealistic rant but a thoughtful exploration of the challenge of achieving authenticity when business often seeks to find it and exploit it.

"The recognition by business that we need to lead authentic lives at work is in start contrast to the 'mind control' tendency in business training - reducing processes to numbers, reducing creativity to formulae and best practice. Or worse still 'internal branding'... helping people to be authentic can turn into brain-washing extremely fast."

Boyle also wrote The Tyranny of Numbers so it's easy to understand - and resonate with - his suspicions of how fanatical measurement drives out human sensibility in business.

I'm pleased to see the Beyond branding authors start a blog and this happens to be one of the thought provoking entries here.

Today I've sat through another presentation from my erstwhile MD. He was a bit more contemplative than the last presentation I went to, but what struck me again today was how much store he sets by numbers. Every piece of information is quantifiable, to the extent that when challenged by a fairly reasonable question, he attacked the questioner on what 'proof' did he have for his point of view? What were the numbers?

The phrase 'best practice' also hove into view on numerous occasions as justification for organisation, structure and improvements.

While I am never one to take someone on, head on, I intuitively feel that in a social context and even an economic one, numbers are not the answer and rarely even the question.

The point about driving out Human sensibility really hits home but then I'm not an accountant, an MBA or even a senior manager. Still I suppose he was being authentic, or maybe that's his internal branding?

Anyway, I think I will be adding David Boyle's Authenticity to the reading list!

Posted by Paul Goodison at August 19, 2003 10:26 PM | TrackBack

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