In thought-leadership speak, you hear a lot about the word “authenticity” and the need for more “authentic” leaders. But what does that mean, exactly?

What I’ve observed and studied about authentic leaders is that they live, lead, and work through their values. They show up daily with integrity and with their true selves because such behavior creates a level of trust and respect from employees that cannot be replicated by “wearing a mask.”

To support what I write, speak, and model in my own leadership practice, I’m always on the lookout for successful leaders championing authenticity. This time around, I connected with Smoothie King CEO Wan Kim. (it also delighted me to cover this story since I typically gulp down a 20 oz Daily Warrior about every morning before work)

When Kim took over as CEO in 2012 after being a master franchisee in South Korea where he developed more than 130 Smoothie King stores, he made it his mission to bring Smoothie King back to its health-conscious roots and maintain that vision over the long term.

Since Kim took the helm, Smoothie King has opened an average of 100 stores per year for the last three years and had a record-setting 2018–opening more locations than in any single year of our franchise’s 46-year history.


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