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Here’s How Vulnerability Transforms Your Business

Written by Mike Gruley


Here’s the takeaway: When an open and honest company culture gives employees permission to be vulnerable, people will thrive, and the company will gain real Traction.

When I look back at the early years of running my first business, I don’t think I had enough vulnerability. This is normal. For many entrepreneurs, vulnerability seems like weakness, right? Strong entrepreneurs are usually people who are “idea people.” They swim upstream.They’re used to hearing “no,” ignoring it, and succeeding. They stay focused on what they believe in. Here’s the problem: That intense focus and drive to succeed can result in a company culture where vulnerability is seen as weakness and often punished.

Unfortunately, that type of company culture is more common than most people realize. There’s a reason that Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” has been watched over 40 million times,making it the most popular Ted Talk ever created. The talk is so popular because Brown strikes a chord with people who have never been told that vulnerability is not weakness. Actually, being vulnerable requires huge courage and strength.

What Stops People from Being Vulnerable in Business?

Well, people are scared. There’s real risk involved with vulnerability. In many environments in corporate America, being vulnerable means punishment. People are afraid that if they tell their supervisor, “Wow, I think I messed up that project because I procrastinated,”everyone in the company will blame them. People will start angling for their jobs; eventually they’ll be thrown out the door.

When employees are punished for admitting to their mistakes, they become afraid of the shame that comes with it. When they’re afraid, they won’t admit when they’ve made mistakes. Depending on the industry, this can literally be a matter of life or death. I don’t know about you, but if I’m in an airplane, I want the guy fixing it to feel 100%comfortable telling his boss: “I think I might have installed the wrong part.”

Vulnerability Creates an Open and Honest Culture

Part of the key to becoming “abnormally great,” as EOS® says, is having an open and honest company culture. People find comfort and security in this openness,even though employees initially might find it counter-intuitive to strive for success by opening up about all their failures: “Typically, if I raise my hand and tell everyone when something goes wrong, I get in trouble.”

The real secret is that EOS inspires the opposite. When the philosophy is such that your team is all comfortable holding themselves and one another accountable, and it’s okay for someone to raise their hand and say, “I can’t figure out why, but I have the numbers all wrong,”everyone’s work will be better. We’ll figure out why the numbers are wrong,we’ll fix it, and it won’t happen again.

People inherently want to be honest. They want to be real and they want to be vulnerable, as long as they won’t be judged. When you foster a culture that’s open and honest, I guarantee this: People will thrive, succeed, and your company will beset up to achieve abnormal and extraordinary success.

If your team could use some guidance in creating openness and honesty in your organization, or you just want to talk more about it, feel free to reach out anytime.