Can we grow by showing our vulnerability?

Vulnerability:  The following was recently distributed to Jeff’s clients in an email, and I thought it worthwhile enough to forward it along to my friends and bloggers.   


A Relationship Story, Vulnerability – A Powerful Business Tool

Jeff Black

Partner, McDermott & Bull Executive Search, Irvine, CA 



Have you ever thought about the professional energy that we waste by each of us trying to hide our weaknesses?  Think of this as a second job we are all doing all the time.  What if we didn’t have to waste this time and could be using the energy to get more valuable stuff done?

In our families, we may be more comfortable being ourselves than in our work lives.  I have been realizing over the past few years how much I needed to chill – to get more comfortable with myself – and my increasing authenticity (at least a little bit) has improved all of my relationships.  How cool would it be if we could be authentic all the time at work?

Something special is happening in the culture of one of our clients – Decurion (you may know them from the ArcLight Cinemas brand) – they have proven to be a very special organization and a great partner for us.  They are a Deliberately Developmental Organization (DDO) as described in the 2014 Harvard Business Review article, Making Business Personal, featuring two such DDO’s including Decurion.

One special example of their culture is their commitment to genuinely encouraging and celebrating their people being human by making mistakes and everyone recognizing their weaknesses in order to improve.  There is an amazing level of openness in the culture that allows people to trust each other as well as the organization so everyone can be comfortable being vulnerable.  This may not be right for every organization, but I think there is something to learn about just how much is possible in creating the culture of dreams.

In our practice, along with my partners Kelly Nguyen and Jason Pinegar, we have decided to challenge each other to be truly willing to grow by acknowledging our weaknesses – being comfortable with our imperfections and open to suggestions for improvement (for instance, Kelly suggested I economize on words after reading a draft of this story!)

Perhaps all of us might find a little peace in being a little more vulnerable?  We most certainly would waste a little less time on that annoying second job.

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