Can Finance Professionals Be Authentic Like Creatives?

I love following the work of an American Designer, his name is James Victore - not his art (it is ok) , but the leadership he offers. Whilst running his agency he makes time to encourage young creative professionals through their trials and tribulations, via weekly video-blogs. They really are good.

A recent blog resonated; he argued: You will be more successful, happier and ultimately produce better work if you be yourself. If you are authentic. He understands authenticity as a reaction to exposing our own human vulnerability, self-doubt and ultimately being able to trace a line between what you feel and what you produce.

In my own work I coach professionals to better sell their skills and potential so they get better jobs, pretty simple I think. When challenged or coached most finance professionals answer "why should we hire you?" question in a really stilted way. No authenticity. The focus is almost always exclusively on technical, dry skills, little things like their character are carefully disguised by piles of corporate language (I blame MBA schools).

The question I have been ruminating is: can finance professionals ever be authentic, like creatives?

  • The philosophical answer is: they must, otherwise the industry will continue with a generation struggling to a moral compass.
  • The practical answer i: the best HR professionals recognise authenticity as key tenant of leadership. So if you want top jobs you ought to try.
  • My answer is: if I ask the "why you?" at coached interviews and persist with digging, people wanting a career change or leadership, eventually say words like;
    • I care about...
    • I believe in...
    • I am fascinated in
    • I enjoy doing what I do because...
    • This business matters because...
    • What we do is important because...

It can all sound dangerously authentic and that is not the normal language of finance interviews.

James' smart words again. You will be more successful, happier and ultimately produce better work if you be yourself. If you are authentic.

A blog page

Olivier Vidal is MD of Go.Show.Do.

Go.Show.Do personally coach ambitious professionals to tell their story to employers online, on paper and at interviews.

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