Who Are You? Who, Who?

You might recognize the following lyrics as the refrain from the 1978 song “Who Are You” by The Who.  This song came to mind as I thought about two books I recently read, both about authenticity.  I invite you to consider if your team members or your customers might wonder these words about you:

Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
‘Cause I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)

Do your team members know who you are? Do they know what you value? Do they know what motivates you? Do they know your weaknesses as well as your strengths?

What about your customers? Have you built an honest relationship with them? Do you share vulnerability with them?  Do they know the real you and what your company really stands for?

On Fig Leaves and Fear

In his newest book, “Getting Naked,” Patrick Lencioni uses his storytelling skills to teach the value of building a transparent relationship with customers.  Instead of walking in the door determined to sell the customer on your product, he suggests approaching the customer relationship with a consultant’s approach; get to know your customer first, then work with them on ideas and solutions to challenges.

He also reminds us that it is OK not to have all the answers.  Learn right along with your customer.  Lencioni helps us see – and suggests how to overcome – the three barriers to this type of nakedness:

  1. Fear of losing the business
  2. Fear of being embarassed
  3. Fear of feeling inferior

These are very strong fears, indeed.  However, if we can get past them, and really open ourselves up to our customers, the loyalty that we are given in return will be invaluable.  Customers will not have to wonder, “Who are you? Who, who, who, who?”

Getting Clear

Mike Robbins helps us see the power of authenticity in all of our relationships.  His book, “Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken,” helps readers get in touch with their authentic selves – not an easy task.  However, once we are completely authentic with ourselves, we open up our relationships to new depths of honestytransparency and meaning.  Robbins proposes these five principles as the keys to living authentically:

  1. Know yourself
  2. Transform your fear
  3. Express yourself
  4. Be bold
  5. Celebrate who you are

These are not easy concepts. either.  It is challenging to live in a place of authenticity. As leaders, imagine the possibilities of relationships with our team members that is built on authenticity. What a powerful approach to the workplace!  Robbins lays out a path for cooperative relationships working toward shared goals through mutual undertanding!  If we can find our authentic self and then share ourselves without fear, our team members will not wonder, “Who are you? Who, who, who, who?”

What experiences do you have sharing your authentic self with a customer or team member?  How risky did it feel?  What was the outcome?  What can we learn from your experience?


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Eleanor Biddulph
Eleanor Biddulph
 is the EVP of Client Services at Progressive Medical, Inc.
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Image Sources: fraserjohnson.co.uk, youtube

4 responses to “Who Are You? Who, Who?

  1. Thanks for sharing these books (and for digging out the WHO from the ibis). Both seams to resonate with my own professional and personal life experiences.
    I love explaining to sales people of all levels in training- not to stand in front of a customer and describe a product (May it be a physical product or an idea for a solution) but rather stand shoulder to shoulder with their customer and view it together.
    As for clarity and authenticity, I’m thrilled that the overall awareness for these precious elements in our consciousness is ever growing.


  2. Michal – thank you so much for stopping by L2L, reading my post and commenting. Sounds like your personal philosophies are right in line with these two authors. I like the imagery of standing shoulder to shoulder, rather than in front of.


  3. Thanks for sharing these insights. We recently had two sales people come to our office from two different companies. One came as a consultant (as you mentioned), and asked us about our business, what we would like to do, and how his services meet our needs. The other came to our office, seemed in a hurry to get through the presentation, and had a more, “what you see is what you get” attitude. Normally, I’m not easily swayed by the salesperson, but for a company providing a service to us the sales rep was an ambassador.


  4. Matt – thanks so much for the comment. It really is amazing what a difference approach can make in building a relationship. I hope all goes well with your choice!


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