Last night during the Fedex Orange bowl I saw a couple of new Fedex commercials. One in particular set me off laughing hysterically. Picture this: a video conference with the stern faced manager handing out clear directions to his off site team. As the camera switches to his team the makeshift back wall of their “conference room” blows over revealing a sunny beautiful golf course in the background. The team confirms they will complete the task and quickly become aware that their ruse has been foiled. Rather than fess up one of the not so quick team members grabs a golf club and whacks the laptop containing the webcam. Thinking they had gotten away with their trick the employee says “wow that was close!” The manager who is still online replies “I can still hear you” The computer is then attacked again in hope that the connection will be lost. Dumb, dumb, dumb but hilariously funny.
There is a leadership lesson here of course relating to authenticity. A leader is always on stage, not like these knuckleheads though there are no props no second takes. Your team will know how authentic you are because your words have to match your behaviors. When you act deceptively this becomes very difficult for most (other than those with a pathological nature perhaps). So be real, be authentic. First people want to follow someone they can trust and not those they cannot. Second you don’t actually have to remember what you said (as the liar must) because the facts don’t change. Finally looking in the mirror is a whole lot easier when you speak with an authentic voice.
When it is posted online I will put a link to the commercial.