Why are more and more people in business talking about vulnerability?

Posted on by Excell Staff

Please follow me.  I am watching the Seahawks finish off the Panthers.  One of the announcers says that Wilson, the Seahawk quarterback, visions the game before it ever happens and then manifests it.  Following the psychology of sports, I was not surprised to hear terms like “vision” and “manifest” spouted by commentators of today.  The other eight people in the room were surprised and commented on it. 
Soon, I began hearing other words about the vulnerability and trust developed for the level of teamwork achieved.  Now, I have to admit, unless you watched Oprah, then I imagine you haven’t heard the word vulnerability bandied about too often in a rough contact sport like football or in male dominated business meetings. 
Yet, there it was.  So, what is vulnerability?  I’ll give you my definition… pure and simple it is risking something or being at risk.  Applied to business groups, I believe it means placing oneself in a position where others may potentially have power over us. 
Patrick Lencioni in the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team starts from the position that many of us feel a need for safety and we equate this to invulnerability.  So, feeling vulnerable is not something we do very lightly. 
Risking is a first step to producing trust and trust is one of the foundations of creating a highly effective team.  So, what is it that needs to be risked?  That actually depends on each person.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself, or others and which, if answered honestly and with self-awareness would show vulnerability, risk: 
  •  What is it that if I revealed it, I would feel that I looked less than good?
  •  If my team new something about me, what do I believe would undermine my authority?
  • Why don’t people like to work with me?
  • What is my weakest skill and how do I shore up that lack of skill?

First, if you can truly answer these questions, even to yourself, you are a person worth getting to know.  Second, most of us can’t? 
  •  “There is no ‘I’ in TEAM” ~ Anonymous
  • “A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle” ~ Japanese proverb
  • “A boat doesn’t go forward if each one is rowing their own way” ~ Swahili proverb
  • “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success” ~ Henry Ford
  • “One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team” ~ Kareem Abdul Jabbar
  • “A group becomes a team when each member is sure enough of himself and his contribution to praise the skill of the others” ~ Norman Hidle
  • “You don’t get harmony when everybody sings the same note” ~ Doug Floyd

“Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.” Patrick Lencioni

So, what would you risk in order to create trust?  What is it that you do that makes creating  trust more difficult? What actions do you take to create trust? 

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