Are You Vulnerable Enough?  [PART 1]

The most common challenges I hear from business owners and executives in terms of achieving new levels of growth within their businesses can be traced to lack of the right talent at the right time, strategy and structure misalignment, as well as inability to deliver meaningful innovation to the marketplace.  

Equally, and perhaps fastest growing are organizations that fail to adequately drive the personal and professional growth of their employees; all topics and areas of focus for

But, there is a BIGGER, less-mentioned and often-ignored challenge that has a stranglehold-like grip on the necks of our teams, organizations and families, silently and slowly suffocating our growth potential.  

A pervasive lack of trust.

Lack of Trust.

From building families to building businesses, trust is a foundational pillar that must be rock-solid.  Before you can put more floors on the building, you need a foundation that can handle the pressure.  Thus, trust, or lack thereof, is a HUGE barrier to growth.  The problem is that most leaders will not accept or admit that there is a lack of trust within their businesses or between customers.  

So, what can be done to ensure that this pillar does not crumble under the pressure of growth?

There is a lot that can be done to build trust; from off-site team building workshops to tactical strategies such as better communication and consistency in policy and procedures.  While these are all important, there is one very rare characteristic that leads to deep, foundation-building trust that’s virtually unshakeable. 

The Power of Vulnerability 

I’ve always held a strong belief that vulnerability was the ultimate level to be achieved within high performing teams and families.  Rarely have I seen or experienced it.  As I was doing some research for this article, I came across the TED video of Brene Brown, featured above, on the Power of Vulnerability.  It’s approximately 20 minutes long and worth every last second of your time – very powerful, especially the ending.

Brene defines vulnerability as allowing ourselves to be seen, and that ultimately, it’s what leads to connection with each other.  She does a tremendous job articulating how societal pressures have conditioned us to drive for this unattainable state of controlling, predicting and perfecting.  Brene speaks to an uncommon courage to be imperfect and a willingness to let go who who we think we should be in order to be who we are.

While Brene does not specifically tie vulnerability to trust in her presentation, it truly is vulnerability that gets underneath the surface of what keeps teams from ever achieving the kind of trust that high performance teams possess.
Pridefully masking our insecurities and imperfections can lead to gossip and politics within teams, not to mention a tendency to over-commit and exaggerate our capabilities, leading to foundational cracks in trust.

However, when we are successful in getting real about who we are, imperfections and all, that we come to grips with where the gaps lie in our lives and on teams.  We not only uncap the potential for new growth in our own lives, but we enlist the support of our inner circles to cheer us on.  

Vulnerability is one of the real “hard-to-do’s” in life, and I realize this all sounds a bit fairyland like.  But dream with me for two weeks and help me define how we could build more vulnerability in our lives – if nothing else, even small steps towards this kind of pride-less acceptance of imperfection could unleash new levels of joy, contentment, and growth in our children’s lives!

So, how can we get better at vulnerability?

Have you ever been on a organizational team that embodied a strong level of vulnerability with each other?  Or how about with your customers?

What were some of the keys or strategies you employed to build vulnerability with each other?

How about with your family?  Have you been successful in fostering vulnerability with your family?  How did you do it?

I would love to hear from you!  In fact, my plan is to incorporate any of the reader reaction from this article for the strategies we set forth together in PART 2.  If together, we can really get at the core of vulnerability and how to build it, there’s potential to lift the lid on personal and professional growth in ways we’ve never before experienced!  

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Founder Todd Garreston

With over 15 years of experience leading market share growth initiatives of top consumer brands in Fortune 500 and privately-held business environments, Todd Garretson advises and helps organizations identify new growth potential, craft strategy that moves people to action and enhance overall performance.

Having a passion for helping people and organizations to unlock dormant growth potential, Todd writes and speaks for audiences in three core areas: business growth strategy, leadership and personal / professional growth.

Residing in Atlanta, GA with his wife, Lauri, and their four children, weekends and free time are spent with family, coaching youth sports, and sharing his passion for fitness and nutrition.