"Trust" and "honesty" are considered intrinsic or implied values. After all, if a business operates without a commitment to trust and honesty, it won't be around for the long-term. Marcus Lemonis of  CNBC's  "The Profit" looks for 3 specific types of honesty when he evaluates his investment opportunities. 

In a recent episode of "The Profit," he shared that vulnerability, transparency, and authenticity are critical elements of business success.


Lemonis often shares his own setbacks and fears when spotlighting businesses that are facing difficulties. He doesn't do this to gain sympathy from the audience, or from those he is helping. Rather, he opens up to create connection and "relatability."

Vulnerability expert Brene Brown interviewed thousands of people across the world to understand what connects people at the deepest level. The answer was vulnerability. 

Harvard research reveals leaders are often trained to maintain a professional distance from employees, and to never reveal their fears or failures, because this may undermine their credibility with employees. However, this contradicts human nature because "we are particularly sensitive to signs of trustworthiness in our leaders."

Lemonis values vulnerability because he requires that leaders have a strong emotional connection to their employees, and that they care about people just as much as they care about profits. 


Transparency leads to trust because it serves as a window into the inner workings of the organization. Without transparency, employees are in the dark, and are left alone to make up the truth about what is happening in the business. Lack of transparency implies that the leaders are hiding something about the business.

There are 3 specific reasons why transparency is so essential:

1: Privacy has completely eroded. 
There are no secrets in organizations. Between social media and the ubiquitous use of platforms that store data, all information is up for grabs. Further, the younger generations  (Gen Z, Milennials) - which make up the majority of today's workforce - share everything. Nothing is considered off-limits. Therefore they expect to work for companies that also share everything. 

2: The quickest way to build a culture of trust is through total transparency.
Employees want to know what's going on inside a company, beyond what the website and marketing campaigns say. They know that marketing information doesn't reflect the reality of the inner workings of a company. 

3: Transparency yields higher efficiency, productivity, and quality. 
With total transparency, problems are exposed and solved faster, team members are more quickly integrated because they are all operating with the same information, and deeper relationships form more quickly which yields greater cooperation. 


The term "authenticity" is often used to define what it means to be an evolved leader.... someone who remains true to what they believe in, is approachable, and consistently shows up in the same way in all types of environments/circumstances. 

Authenticity can be tricky, however.  Harvard Business Review identified 3 definitions of authenticity-based leadership, and the challenges they can present:

1: Being true to yourself.
We have many different "selves" in the course of our lives and careers. We evolve in every new role. How can we remain true to our core self, even when the environments around us keep shifting?

2: Always aligning what you feel with what you say or do. 
Leaders have to protect their credibility by ensuring that there is always alignment between what they share with employees, and how they execute.

3: Making values-based choices.
As organizations grow and change, they may force a change of values. Leaders will have to closely examine their own core values and decide if they are willing to change what they stand for. 

This happened in my first organization,  Information Experts, when our largest customer, the Federal government, moved to a vendor selection process that prioritized lowest price over best value. This contradicted everything I believed in. Therefore I put a succession plan in place to leave my own company because I could not align with my customer's value system. 

Remaining authentic takes conscious effort, especially as an organization grows, the leadership moves farther away from the daily operations, and the market increasingly has more influence over the strategy and daily decisions a company makes to survive.

Would Marcus Work with You?

Where do you stand in terms of vulnerability, transparency, and authenticity? Would Marcus choose to invest in you? 

Published on: Jan 2, 2018
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