Whether it’s business or one’s personal life, knowing someone’s true colours will always help you gain a competitive edge in life.
Is it not best if we can tell whether somebody is who they say they are or if they are faking it?
The instincts in ourselves help us to differentiate between authentic or untrustworthy people, but sometimes we can misjudge. First impressions are crucial, but they’re a brief snapshot of a person’s character. Imagine you are CEO of a small company. Your sales director has a variable bonus related to new sales. During the year, the business plan changes to deal with unforeseen conditions. The sales director will now have to refocus on retaining existing clients, instead of acquiring new ones. At year-end, it is time for their annual review. Under the original agreement, their bonus needs to be zero. You want to keep them motivated, but you should look after your business. It is your call so what should you do?
Putting the gun in your opponent’s hands
You can get inspired by Bruce Dunlevie, who is GP of Benchmark Capital. When he negotiates equity valuation with the investments’ founders, he says this line:
‘You tell me what’s fair, and I will do it’
Because he is holding the money, Bruce has important power in this negotiation but with that one line he hands over power to the entrepreneur. He gives them the gun. It turns out that when you ask this question from a well-respected and powerful position, the other party will frequently go out of their way to provide something fair. Few can go so far as to offer something slightly unfair to themselves.
And if they ask for a small more than market, Bruce goes along with it, after all, he works with the best. It is a real demonstration of trust. Nevertheless, if the entrepreneur asks for something outrageous and ‘fires that gun’ at Bruce, he will not work with them at all. That is the price of Bruce to trust them with the gun in the 1st place. You have power over the team being CEO. In other terms, you actually have the ultimate say.
But if you want to make leaders in your team, you sometimes have to share your power with them. If you give your leaders ownership, they will behave such as owners. And if they do not well, it is better you know sooner instead of later.
When does working to make a good impression cross the line?
I am not going to tell you not to put your great foot forward in an interview or on that first date, but I can say that it’s possible to invent a character entirely unlike yourself if you are not careful. That character is able to make you miserable by giving you a job that was not fit for you or putting you in a relationship that is not a better match. The ideal first impression is a possible version of your true self, but it’s still you. People can get problems when they stop being themselves.
How do we avoid inauthentic people?
No person should be duped into committing with a disagreeable person. We should like somebody based on their true nature. Knowing who a person is not a big deal if you do not have to develop a close relationship. When you have to spend most of the time collaborating and problem-solving, knowing who’s on your team is important. When somebody goes through their day-to-day in character, it can work for a while, but eventually, they’ll reveal their true colors. When it comes to starting a new friendship, employment, romantic relationship, we frequently commit based on info from our first impression. Sometimes our first impression isn’t the true reflection of a person.