Today’s insights are brought to you by my colleague and global futurist, Keith Coats.


Keith is a collector of questions. He was recently asked, “What is the best question you’ve ever heard?” And for Keith, that question is simply, “What do you do after you stop pretending?”

This is particularly important for leaders to consider, especially when so many have internalised the idea of “fake it till you make it.”

But if you keep faking it until you make it, you will become so skilled at faking it that when you are faced with an adaptive challenge, a challenge you don’t know how to handle, you won’t know any other way to approach it. The more you fake it, the more you move away from your most authentic self.

The trap of faking it can have serious and far-reaching consequences, not just for individuals but for entire organisations. Volkswagen’s emission scandal is a stark example of this. In an attempt to meet stringent emission standards, the company installed software in their diesel engines that would reduce emissions only during testing. This “faking it” approach seemed successful at first but eventually led to a massive loss of trust, significant legal challenges, and billions in fines.

It is a poignant reminder that authenticity must be at the core of all decisions and actions within an organisation.

 Volkswagen's emission scandal

Leading from Authenticity

We believe that leaders must lead out of who they are, from their most authentic selves. So that then begs the question, who is the self that leads? The best leaders today are those who are transparent and genuine. They have the courage to be vulnerable.

Developing authenticity and the ability to admit when you don’t know something, well… it’s easier said than done. But as Keith explains, asking questions and being curious about the insights that others can share with you is part of the key to becoming a truly effective leader in the 21st century. His leadership style revolves around continuous learning and growth, always seeking new perspectives.

Leading from Authenticity

The 21st Century Leadership Demands

Authenticity in leadership is not just a trend; it’s an essential quality in our interconnected and transparent world. People want to follow leaders they trust and believe in. In a world of information overload, authenticity cuts through the noise.

We encourage leaders to embark on this journey of self-discovery and honesty. It requires reflection, active listening, and a willingness to grow. It might not always be the easiest path, but it’s the one that leads to enduring success and meaningful relationships. The shift from pretending to being real could be the transformation your leadership needs. It’s time to stop faking and start leading with your true self.


What will you do after you stop pretending?

Watch this video from Keith Coats delves into the importance of leading from your most genuine self.

About the author of today’s Tuesday Tip – Keith Coats

Keith Coats is a founding partner of TomorrowToday Global and leadership specialist. He is now based in Cape Town, South Africa having relocated from London towards the end of 2021. Keith works with blue chips companies and in multiple business school leadership programmes worldwide helping senior leaders prepare today for the challenges and threats of tomorrow…and sometimes, the ‘day after tomorrow’.

Recently Keith’s travel has included working throughout the UK, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore, and of course, South Africa.

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