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In A Search For Authenticity, Locally Hosted Meals & Management by Accident

“Rain Room – Random International” by Tom via Flickr

It was an hour and a half to drive home tonight in the rain. Nonstop sheets of gray pelted the windshield and I flipped around the radio trying (mostly in vain) to find a song worth listening to.

The delay became somewhat worth it when I caught a really interesting news segment on WTOP News. I am always interested in trends, and they were talking about the trend toward locally hosted meals, such as with Cookening, Home Hosted Meals, and so on.

In this business model, the impersonal, cookie-cutter restaurant is replaced with an encounter with a true local person who is simply hosting a dinner party, wine and cheese tasting, etc. at their home. I could see the appeal, especially when you align this kind of business with airbnb, where you get a place to sleep from a  local person – rather than a cold and sterile hotel.

People nowadays want to do business with people. Not plastic. Not customer service “robots.”

Which relates to a second topic. People want to bring their humanity to work. Not completely of course. But just enough that they are relating to one another in a real way. This is a shift from earlier times, when the mode of interaction was colder and more formal.

The demand for increased authenticity makes it more difficult to interact successfully at work. As opposed to times past, when role division and distance was more explicit, today the employee may be more technically proficient than the manager and they may also be friends outside of the professional environment.

Let’s complicate matters with the unconscious. We all carry emotions left over from our relationships of the past – successful and not. There are issues not fully resolved, dynamics still to be played out. It is inevitable that we will bring these emotions into the workplace, just like we will seek to make “friends” among people who really just want to get paid for pretending to be a friend and to offer “genuine” hospitality.

There is so much literature out there on leadership and management, marketing and how to run a business, and relationships. It would be nice, in a way, to buy a recipe book and plug it into the wall so that we could be successful.

But that would eliminate the meaning of the journey, wouldn’t it?

We have to find our way an inch at a time.

* All opinions my own.


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