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FAKE IT: Acting Interested in Corporate America Is a Succession Factor

Who's to know if your soul will fade at all
The one you sold to fool the world
You lost your self-esteem along the way
Yeah

--"Fake it" by Seether

One of the biggest things that separates contenders from pretenders in Corporate America - across all functional areas - is the ability to fake interest and attention.

You're in a 7-hour training class.  Next week you're in a 3 hour ops review.  Boredom happens.

 If Darwin were a noted OD thought leader in business, he would write that an adaptation that allows some to survive and thrive is the ability to fake interest and attention with body language, eye contact and just enough participation to make it seem like they're engaged.

Does it matter?  Competition is fierce. Only if you want to get further than you are now.  The real players in corporate America look engaged - at all times - even when they aren't.  

Look around at your next meeting.  You'll know what I'm talking about.  Some people have this type of opposable thumb, some don't.

Of course, faking it leads to learning because you're dialed in juuuuuust enough not to miss important shit. 

Seether video below, people.  Worth your time but a little NSFW. Happy Friday... (email subscribers click through for video)

Comments

Steve Hale

Really good post. This is a real factor in hiring decisions too. Those candidates who manage to show enthusiasm just short of being cheerleaders usually have a better chance than the quieter more introspective ones. It shouldn't be that way but it is. Wear the mask.

Alan Oathout

Thought-provoking as always, KD. The Japanese have a societal concept known as "tatemae/hon'ne". Tatemae = your public, "correct" face; hon'ne represents your genuine feelings. While the concept of tatemae is useful for getting along in collectivist societies/organizations, thoughtful Japanese writers have eloquently described the long-term detrimental effects on their country. It permeates their legal system, politics, media coverage, many companies, law enforcement, etc...and during the Fukushima nuclear disaster that impacted millions of lives, the people affected were kept uninformed for months. Faking interest in a meeting is clearly benign by comparison...If the insincerity only went that far. But in systems where faking it to "survive and thrive" becomes accepted/demanded practice, the downstream effects can (and often do) grow to devastating proportions.

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