If you’ve ever seen the old Grouch Marx hosted game show “You Bet Your Life”, an integral part of the program was  a contestant would say the “secret word”, a common word revealed to the audience at the show’s outset. If a contestant said the word, a toy duck resembling Groucho—witheyegalsses and a mustache—descended from the ceiling to bring a $100 bill. A cartoon of a duck with a cigar was also used in the opening title sequence.

It seems that today’s “secret word” is “authenticity”.

It is a term being thrown around a lot, especially in marketing and political circles. But though much in use, the understanding of just what makes for authenticity is very subjective and remains quite vague.

Authenticity has become the gold standard for leadership. But a simplistic understanding of the concept has hindered its effectiveness.

According to one definition, Authenticity is a word that means something is genuine or real.

But whose version of genuineness or reality ?

The political campaigns on both sides of the border, have us asking that question.

Because someone speaks their mind does that make them authentic ? Does being authentic have anything to do with being true to core values and now just those of the person claiming the mantle of “authenticity”.

An old Paul Simon tune invoked “One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor”. Similarly, one person’s version of “authenticity” could well be hollow and shallow to another.