Last night, during a dinner conversation with friends, I proposed that AUTHENTICITY is the most scarce & precious resource and trait. People need more authenticity in their relationships and don’t want pretentious conversations. Employees want their employers to be more authentic and share the good, the bad and the ugly news directly with them. Bosses want their team members to share what they are good at and what they can do and cannot do. Clients and customers want the same from their suppliers and partners. They want the promises made to them by sales and marketing team members to be authentic, and the delivery of those promises to.
Authenticity is a critical problem. When we visit a doctor, hospital or lab, we expect the doctor or lab to tell us the diagnosis and test results quickly and accurately. We don’t want to be given false alarms or false hope. If a doctor thinks you might be in wheelchair in ten years or die in six months, or conversely are fit enough to climb Mount Everest or run a marathon, then they should say exactly that. This is not to say that sub-clauses and caveats about probability should not be included, but as patients, we have a right to know out blood pressure, heart rate or cholesterol numbers as is. This will enable us to have a better understanding of what the likely consequences are and what the possible preventive or curative actions could be.
Similarly, health insurance companies need to be upfront and tell their members before enrollment what the likely financial impact, given their personal health & financial situation, will be. Also, these conversations should be in simple layperson terms and not in complex legal language with a lot of sub-prints. We all would appreciate if our options, costs and health impacts were discussed pre-enrollment.
There also needs to be more transparency in the healthcare industry. For example, if diagnostics organizations could share the results with patients, doctors and others in an easy to understand format, multiple facilities could use these results and the same tests wouldn’t have to be done multiple times.
Not having authenticity can often have severe impacts in terms of financial impact and often with life especially in Healthcare or Life Sciences Industry but having it will have a really positive and lasting impact. I will give an example from Pharma Industry. Few years back there was a drug recall of certain types of Tylenol and Motrin by Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), which began in January 2015. Johnson & Johnson’s reaction set the bar for other companies. It did not spare any expense to protect the public from what turned out to be a tiny number of tainted products. That is what authentic leadership demanded and J&J displayed. I am sure it incurred a heavy cost in the short run but the positive impact in long run was priceless. We all hope that all Life Sciences companies display the same levels of transparency and integrity and it will be reciprocated back by consumers. Better reporting of Adverse Drug events and higher investment in PV (Pharma Co-vigilance) efforts by companies is a price worth paying for and am sure authentic leaders in Industry will lead by example.
There is an acute shortage of authentic conversations, behavior, people and companies in the world and we all would be willing to pay a premium for that. Authentic family members, friends, colleagues, partners and companies are in scarcity. They deserve and will get a premium.