Vulnerability is Sexy

When was the last time you felt truly vulnerable at work?  Are you a CEO who feels comfortable using the words “I don’t know” with your leadership team members?  Have you shared some of your fears with them?  Have you allowed yourself to be human?

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the annual summit of the Small Giants Community in Detroit.  For two days, 150 leaders committed to growing a business with purpose grappled with topics such as culture hacking, open book management, and leading from the behind.

My favorite topic was vulnerability.  The presentation and interactive exercises were facilitated by the one and only Corey Blake, perhaps the only person to ever be filmed on a TV commercial dunking a basketball naked. 

Showing us this (rated PG) video was just one great example of Corey demonstrating the art of being vulnerable.   From the stage, he also shared intimate details from his life – relationships, ethical missteps, etc.  After each reveal, Corey invited us to “check in” with him and see how we were feeling. 

Early on, I found myself judging Corey and his decisions.  Yet, as time went on, I began to like him more and more – and relate to him in an emotional way.  Then we did our own vulnerability exercise with a person sitting next to us.  In 12 minutes, I felt close to this person, and told him something that I had not even shared with my own beloved wife of 17 years!

If I could share intimate details and bond with a stranger in less than fifteen minutes, imagine what would happen if you could build deep “vulnerability relationships” with your leadership team and other employees?  What kind of trust would that create?  How could that help you solve more difficult problems in your business sooner and better?

I’d love to hear your examples of being vulnerable at work and the impact it had on your business!

Vulnerably yours,

Adam