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Glance at Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Instagram profile and you'll see some mix of the following: workout videos, food posts, family pictures, documentary recommendations, promos for his latest movie, and jokes at Kevin Hart's expense.

All pretty standard. All pretty candid and relatable.

What you probably won't see: evidence that he often spends hours drafting these posts. It would be easy to write off Johnson as a celebrity concerned about his image. If you do, you'll miss how he's cultivated a quiet and meticulous strategy that has helped him become a very savvy entrepreneur.

On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal published a story on Johnson's business acumen, writing that "Johnson's secret talent is that he's a suit who doesn't seem like one." He oversees 15 employees at his production company, Seven Bucks Productions, and runs a tight ship--often squeezing in meetings with them while he's working on film sets. The company, which Johnson co-founded and now runs with his ex-wife Dany Garcia, has become successful enough to earn its own Harvard Business School case study.

Seven Bucks oversees production for multi-million dollar movies and TV shows, but the case study spotlights a smaller piece of business: Johnson's decision to launch his own digital channel on YouTube, a trailblazing act among A-list celebrities. "There is no blueprint for any of this," Johnson says in the case study.

Johnson also has individual partnerships with businesses like Under Armour and a new tequila brand called Teremana launching next year. His candid and relatable social media presence is a carefully curated part of his business strategy--and yet, the Journal wrote, Johnson's public persona is so easygoing "that fans either don't realize they're being sold to, or don't care."

In other words, The Rock is calculated without seeming calculated. He takes risks, but he does his homework first--and doesn't come across as rehearsed. That's an enviable skill. Think about pitch meetings: Canned speeches aren't persuasive. Investors don't tend to give money to founders who sound inflexible--or, worse, unable to go off-script. They'd much rather put their faith in someone who comes across as both knowledgeable and confident.

You can apply this to just about every other part of running a company, too. Want to close that sales deal? Or inspire productivity and passion in the people who work for you? Being perceived as a relatable human helps. Being perceived as robotic won't.

Achieving that relatability is easier said than done. (Just ask Mark Zuckerberg.) But it's worth the time and effort to let employees, partners, and customers see what makes you you. And maybe, just maybe, practicing a few of Dwayne Johnson's business moves will finally help you smell what The Rock is cooking.

Published on: Dec 4, 2019