Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



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I do not know what to Believe!

Rejection Reason #2

What I Hear does not match what I See and Feel.

As we uncovered last week in, I did not recognize you – BLOG – www.akesatia.com, from a tender age, we learn the value of keeping strangers out or rejecting those we do not recognize or know. This cautionary move often keeps us safe, but the challenge arises when we do not reveal our true selves so that others can confidently let us in. In this context, recognizing another refers to being able to identify someone based on how one shows up, and knowing someone pertains to authenticity, i.e., alignment in one’s feelings, thoughts, words, and actions. Last time, we delved into the former, and today, we will explore the latter – knowing based on authenticity and congruence.
Inauthenticity and incongruence breed confusion, and many reject others and offers because they do not know what to believe.

Is it wise to believe this?

We have all seen examples of incongruence! Like a home that is impeccable outside but crumbling inside. Or when a well-groomed and immaculately dressed person lives in a dilapidated home. Or perhaps when you order dessert because the picture resembles a creation from Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. But when you bite into it, it tastes like cardboard. 
Experiencing incongruence is disturbing because it signals inauthenticity and makes one unsure of what to believe.

Before we go further, let us level-set on the meaning of authenticity because it is a word we bandy about, but what exactly does it mean? To be authentic is to be true to your personality, spirit, or character. Authenticity Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster. To communicate that one is being authentic, you may hear a businessperson say of themselves, what you see is what you get! And a millennial might say, I’m being real! Or I’m keeping it 100! 😉 Humans view authenticity as a noble quality. Therefore, we all want to be known as authentic, and many claim to be.
Importantly, when we describe someone as authentic, we believe them.

The Reality of Authenticity

However, as with other noble qualities, such as courage, generosity, and honesty, no one is always authentic or inspires others to believe at all times! We might claim to value justice yet fail to call out wrongdoing when we see a coworker mistreated. Or we might profess love for another but, out of frustration, behave callously and neglect to speak the truth with tenderness so our message is digestible. Also, we might stake a claim on honesty yet succumb to the pining of our ego and attempt to evade shame by concealing our missteps. Indeed, expecting anyone to behave authentically at all times is comparable to striving for perfection. It is a bootless errand because it overlooks an inborn human quality: Fallibility.
No one can behave authentically 100% of the time. Therefore, it is better to accept our mistakes and focus on improvement.

To make this real, I will share a story about one of my favorite leaders called E. I partnered with E for several years and enjoyed working with him! Admirably, he comprehended and modeled the oft-misunderstood virtue of humility. We often confuse humility with humiliation. But while both words sound similar, they are characteristically different. Humiliation denotes shame and embarrassment and weakens the heart, but humility is nothing of the sort.  Humility is not diminishing. Instead, humility focuses on others, considers others, and prioritizes their well-being. – This is a position of power and the heartbeat of a true leader.

Coincidentally, humility is the best response when one feels humiliated, as E demonstrated.

Great and Misrepresented!

When I met E, he was put on a high-profile assignment to build and grow a team of highly specialized talent for a transformative product. From the moment he stepped in the door, his remarkable intellect, passion, and relentless drive were apparent for all to see. I quickly learned that he was a rare breed who lived on no more than four hours of sleep each day. Therefore, everything was a day late to him, making it difficult for many to keep up with him. 

However, across the organization, he was held in high esteem and known as the guy who could enter the boardroom, make a seemingly outlandish request, and leave with exactly what he asked for. – This happened frequently, but one instance stands out most! Months after he joined the organization, he told his superiors he needed more employees to meet their requirements. Expectedly, the powers that be approved his requests, and he went on a hiring binge! 

The Blame Game

During this time, E set out to recruit for a critical position. He interviewed many candidates, and over a couple of months, he extended offers to seven, but all turned down the offer – as quickly as they received it! When he heard that the seventh candidate declined his offer to join his team, he was frustrated – to put it mildly! 

Exasperated, he became resentful towards the recruiter, stating their talent-sourcing abilities were limited and they were not generating the right talent pool. Of course, his assertion would imply he extended offers to unsuitable candidates. But let’s not digress. 😊 Next, he blamed his leader for not allocating a bigger recruiting budget that would allow him to extend more competitive offers. But the claim did not get any traction. Finally, he resorted to blaming the candidates for rejecting the offer despite his remarkable attempts to woo them through the recruiting process.
It seemed there was an abundance of blame to go around – as tends to happen with hurt feelings and bruised egos.

Why did you say NO?

Ironically, when asked, the candidates shared an unexpected reason for turning down the opportunity. They declined because their experience on-site did not align with the information they received before the interviews. Essentially, there was a misalignment between what they heard and what they saw and felt, leading them to doubt the veracity of the opportunity. 

Surprised by the feedback, many within the organization wondered how E would react! After asking many questions and collecting himself, E thought about it. Next, rather than reacting to the negative feedback, he responded, and in so doing, he demonstrated his leadership prowess.
To better understand and improve, E contacted each candidate and interviewer to hear their candid feedback about all aspects of the process, including how he could personally improve. Then, swiftly, and measuredly, he adjusted his talent planning and development approach. A significant adjustment was introducing authenticity as a core tenet, by modeling and empowering his team to share what they believe, value, and disapprove of.  One phrase captured his approach: We will do our best to ensure that anyone who joins or walks away sees and knows exactly what they are walking into or away from. – This is a high bar, and in adopting this approach, E humbled himself. After this, I began to admire him, and many chose to believe him and walk with him.

An unmatched gift!

Friend, authenticity enables others to know who you are, and the value of revealing your true self goes beyond handling rejection. Allowing others to see and to know who you are invites the right partners to walk with you. – This is the unmatched gift of authenticity!
To learn more about this gift, you may read Walking With Another – BLOG- www.akesatia.com

Until next time!

For you and to you,




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