Transparency, Trust & Truthfulness

By Karl Kupers on October 06, 2011

Transparency, trust, truthfulness are three cornerstones of Shepherd’s Grain. I was introduced to a new term that may encompass them all and it is authenticity. The word came in conjunction with an invite to a conference titled: “Authenticity—Building trust through Sustainable Business.” I will discuss this later but wanted to focus on the use of one word to portray those three SG cornerstones.

The dictionary has many definitions of “authentic” including genuine and bona fide as well as the following; “stresses fidelity to actuality and fact and may imply authority or trustworthiness in determining this relationship.” Relationships are essential in our effort to reconnect the producer to the consumer and a fidelity to that actuality is further confirmed by our use of Food Alliance. They verify our producers are in fact using the direct seed production system we use in our marketing effort. We hope that our brand Shepherd’s Grain has gained your trust in our accuracy of details not only because of our third party verification but our consistent statements of facts surrounding Shepherd’s Grain.

As we grow, and I imagine with any small businesses, the need and ability to protect the authenticity of your brand is more challenging every year. As you grow your management team, there are more people projecting your brand and culture so it takes time to ensure all are strong in their beliefs of your company. In our case, the further growth of our producer base and customer base demands a stronger commitment to communication to retain that authenticity or to authenticate your brand. In a recent book I read titled “All Hands on Deck” by Joe Tye he states “It’s what we call ‘failing your way forward to success.’ During my career, I’ve seen very few brilliant ideas that came out of the shell that way, but I’ve seen a lot of mediocre ideas that became brilliant because someone was inspired enough to keep working at the idea until it worked.” We certainly can fall under the ‘not brilliant out of the shell’ and ‘commitment to working until it worked’ aspect of this quote. As we plan for our future we need to “stress the fidelity to actuality” even while failing our way forward.

In reference to the conference and its’ title of “Building Trust through Sustainable Business,” this truly does mean in my opinion a need for authenticity throughout the chain of custody. In Shepherd’s Grain taking the raw product from the producer, shipping it to the processor, transforming it into flour separate from others, and maintaining that quality through to the baker at a responsible cost must take authenticity at all levels. Sustainable businesses need to be profitable, they need to be true to their brands, and they need to trust all who are connected along the value chain of the market. My hope and belief for the future of Shepherd’s Grain is you will always think of us as the “authentic” marketer of grain and flour products to the marketplace.

As always, thank you for your continued support and friendship to Shepherd’s Grain and our family of food producers.